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Why Indian Medical Association is opposing govt's move to allow Ayurveda doctors to perform certain surgeries

The decision once again sparked outrage from allopathy or modern medicine practitioners. They took objection to the use of modern terminology in the CCIM notification and alleged that the government is mixing two different streams of medicines.

November 29, 2020 / 01:45 PM IST
Representational image

Representational image

This past week the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), the regulatory body under Ministry of Ayush has brought out a notification allowing postgraduate students in Ayurveda undergoing 'Shalya' (general surgery) and 'Shalakya' (dealing with eye, ear, nose, throat, head, neck and dentistry) to perform surgeries a total of 58 surgical procedures.

The Ayush ministry clarified that 'Shalya' and 'Shalakya' are independent departments in Ayurveda colleges, which are already performing such surgical procedures. The notification was to streamline some of the provisions of the regulations concerning post graduate Ayurveda education by adding clarity and definition to the same.

The decision once again sparked outrage from allopathy or modern medicine practitioners. They took objection to the use of modern terminology in the CCIM notification and alleged that the government is mixing two different streams of medicines.

Indian Medical Association, the body that represents allopathy doctors was critical about the notification.

"IMA unequivocally condemns uncivil ways of the Central Council of Indian Medicine to arrogate itself to vivisect modern medicine and empower its practitioners with undeserving areas of practice," the body said in statement.

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"IMA has no objections to the list of vernacular terms that they have coined. They have no right to the technical terms, techniques and procedures of modern medicine," it added.

IMA also alleged that the CCIM has the "dubious reputation of prescribing modern medicine text books to its students."

The latest, isn't the first case of friction between the government and IMA. Earlier too IMA has questioned the scientific basis of the government's COVID-19 clinical management protocol based on Ayurveda and Yoga for the prevention as well as treatment of asymptomatic and mild patients of COVID-19.

It's not surprising, the BJP government at the Centre is a strong proponent of alternate medicines such Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH). To be sure, there is nothing wrong in AYUSH complementing modern medicine, but the problem comes when there is an attempt to mix two different systems of medicine.

There are also medico-legal issues involved in this. For instance a doctor specialising in dental surgery, isn't supposed to operate on bones as per modern medicine, then why is it an exception in Ayurveda.

AYUSH ministry clarified the use of modern scientific terminology is to facilitate effective communication and correspondence among the different stake-holders and said the question of “mixing” of Ayurveda with Conventional (Modern) Medicine does not arise here as CCIM is deeply committed to maintaining the authenticity of Indian systems of medicine, and is against any such “mixing".

Let's hope AYUSH ministry maintains that stand.

Viswanath Pilla
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.
first published: Nov 29, 2020 01:45 pm