IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 27th Nov 2020
“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” – Vince Lombardi
EDITORIAL HUNT #263 :“Who Wins ? Ayurveda vs Modern Medicines 2020 | UPSC”
Dr. Sanjay Nagral
Who Wins ? Ayurveda vs Modern Medicines 2020 | UPSC
Dr. Sanjay Nagral is a surgeon and writer from Mumbai
A clear reading of the Ayurveda surgery move
India needs its Ayurveda graduates, including surgeons, to improve the common man’s access to decent health care
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Medicine
Ayurveda graduates including surgeons are a large workforce in search of an identity. India needs them.. Comment -(GS 3)
- Father of Plastic Surgery
- Latest Notification on Ayurveda and Surgery
- Background : Medicine since 1947
- Handling an identity crisis : Ayurvedic Doctors
- Way Forward
- FATHER OF PLASTIC SURGERY : Sushruta was an ancient Indian physician known as the main author of the treatise -The Compendium of Suśruta (Sushruta samhita)
- OLD STEM CELL THERAPY : Sushruta Samhita, the ancient Sanskrit text on medicine and surgery, has procedures such as rhinoplasty where the nose is reconstructed with tissue from the cheek.
RESPONSE TO NOTIFICATION
- CENTRAL COUNCIL OF INDIAN MEDICINE(CCIM) — It is a statutory body under the Indian Medicine Central Council Act which regulates –Ayurveda, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Unani Medicine.
- RECENT NOTIFICATION : Surgical procedures that can be performed by post-graduate Ayurvedic doctors in Shalya (surgery) has stirred up a hornet’s nest.
SOURCES : CONSULTANCY.IN
- STAUNCH REACTIONS : The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written a curious self-flagellating letter to the Prime Minister. Allopathic surgeon colleagues are outraged.
- NETIZENS RESPONSE : Some have portrayed doomsday scenarios, ‘where our children will be operated’ by half-baked ‘Ayurvedic doctors’ in the future.
AFTER 1947, WHAT THE STATE DID
- POST INDEPENDENCE : Indian state was faced with the difficult task of accommodating both the ascendant modern medicine brought in by the British and India’s traditional systems of medicine, notably Ayurveda.
- INTEGRATION OF SCIENCE : Modern Medicine was to take the best from all systems and integrate them into one cohesive science.
- PATRONS OF MODERN MEDICINES : The State choose to patronised and encouraged formal medical education in modern medicine as well as in other traditional systems.
- INTEGRATION DID HAPPEN : For a brief period there actually existed ‘integrated’ courses, wherein both Ayurveda and Modern medicine were taught to students.
- DILUTION OF SCIENCE : These withered away partly due to opposition from purists in Ayurveda who were outraged by the ‘dilution’ of their science.
- INITIAL COURSE TO DEGREE : Thus, the degree in Ayurvedic medicine became largely an Ayurveda course.
- SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST : They had to survive in the medical market, which by that time was the dominant form of health care in India.
- STEPPING DOWN THE LADDER : Most Ayurvedic graduates entered general practice.
- UNDER-SERVED AREAS : Several of them went on to work in rural and under-served areas. Some set up nursing homes.
- AVAILABILITY CRISIS : In health care, availability is often more important than quality, specialisation and such extravagant ideas.
HANDLING AN IDENTITY CRISIS
- THE IDENTITY CRISIS : As modern medicine made rapid strides, Ayurvedic graduates experienced an identity crisis.
- LOVE FOR THE TITLES : Many of them had joined the course not for the love of Ayurveda but to get a degree with the honorific ‘Dr.’
- NIGHT SHIFT DOCTORS : Thus, they became resident doctors, intensive care duty doctors and operation theatre assistant surgeons.
- SKILLED BUT DILIGENT : They picked up skills, were diligent and unlike their counterparts in MBBS, were not constantly distracted by thoughts of post graduation and entrance exams.
- AMBULANCE SERVICES : In Maharashtra, the ‘108’ emergency response ambulance service is manned by non-MBBS doctors.
- FRONTLINE HEALTH WORKERS : During COVID-19, a large number of the quarantine centres were manned by Ayurvedic doctors.
- LESS WAGES : Incidentally, they work for less pay which allows hospitals to control costs and even make profits.
SURGERY AND AYURVEDA
- DEVELOPMENT OF SURGERY : Now to the idea of Ayurvedic surgeons. In an effort to develop postgraduate programmes, Ayurveda medical colleges developed one in “Shalya’ or “surgery”.
- AYURVEDIC SURGERIES : A procedure called ‘Kshar Sutra’ used for anal fistula was described in Ayurveda texts and has been incorporated in modern medicine.
- SURGERY COST : Ayurvedic hospital in South Konkan who served the community for many years and at very low cost.
- COMPLEXITIES : General Surgery postgraduate degree holder on completion of his course is to perform 58 surgical procedures.
- MODERN SURGICAL PRACTICE : A postgraduate to perform a removal of the gallbladder called independently unless they have assisted or been taken through at least 100 odd procedures.
A SILVER LINING
- CAPACITY BUILDING MEASURES : If they are creatively and properly trained, they can play important roles in our health-care system.
- TRAINED PARAMEDICS ARE NEEDED : Given the right training, pay and identity, Ayurvedic surgeons can be trained to strengthen this service and save hundreds of lives.
- OPPORTUNISM : If the IMA is defending science, it needs to publicly oppose such opportunism also. Pseudoscience is not a preserve of Indian medicine.
- THE REVIVAL OF INDIAN MEDICINE : If the noise is a turf war between an overambitious Ayurveda establishment on the one hand and modern medicine with a siege mentality on the other.
- SERIOUS DEBATES : Utilising India’s large workforce of non-MBBS doctors to improve access to decent health care for our ordinary citizens needs more debates.
Since the MBBS doctors are left unpaid ; The debate is a superfluous distraction midst COVID-19 cases which will hopefully die down.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Who Wins ? Ayurveda vs Modern Medicines 2020 | UPSC