NAGPUR: Would you rush to an ayurvedic, unani or homeopathic doctor in case of a heart attack? The chances are you would prefer an allopathic doctor. But, that may not be the case if you are rushed to a hospital in Maharashtra, be it government or private.
A Maharashtra government resolution issued in November 1992 for the medical education and drugs department allows doctors with degrees in ayurveda, unani, homeopathy and other therapies to practise allopathy.
The GR says ayurveda practitioners can practise allopathy to some extent, if they have requisite training. This GR was originally meant to boost collapsing health services due to dearth of MBBS doctors willing to serve in poor and rural areas. However, it is being ‘misused’ in both public and private health centres across the state.
Private well-equipped hospitals as well as those run by government bodies like the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) across the state are hiring doctors with BAMS or other degrees even in urban areas. Also, doctors trained only in ayurveda or other streams are allegedly practising allopathy. They are clearly playing with the lives of patients, say patients.
Anil Chouhan of Lok Vikas Manch submitted a written complaint against NMC with Imambada police station on April 6 in this regard.
Although NMC is not violating the law by hiring less-qualified doctors or allowing ayurveda doctors to practise allopathy, the matter has been thrown open for debate. TOI asked experts if it is ethical to allow such practices?
Members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) condemn such a practice. They say that a ayurvedic medicine practitioner is in no way qualified to practise allopathy and should not indulge in such unethical practise.
Dr Kishor Taori, member of Maharashtra Medical Council and Central Working Committee of IMA, New Delhi, pointed out that this amounts to quackery. “Where have they received training? The syllabus for ayurveda medicine courses provides no such training. The question of ayurvedic doctors practising allopathy simply does not arise. It amounts to quackery and the accused can be booked under anti-quackery law. IMA can take action against such doctors, if brought to our notice,” he said.
Ironically, persons with BAMS degrees, initially recruited as ayurvedic compounders, are now acting as medical officers in NMC. Member of executive committee of Medical Council of India and vice chancellor of DMIMS University Dr Vedprakash Mishra said, “There is a Supreme Court judgement in this matter. Section 2 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 clearly defines who is qualified to practise ‘modern’ system of medicine. No deviation is allowed.” To practise allopathy, registration in State Medical Register is a must, pointed out experts.
Immediate past president of IMA, Nagpur, Dr Prashant Nikhade said, “One must analyse why allopaths do not wish to go to rural areas. The accommodation is so pathetic even animals would refuse to live there, forget doctors. IMA can prosecute anyone practising allopathy sans training.”
He added, “The state must respect the SC judgment and make conditions conducive for MBBS and MD qualified doctors in rural areas, like better salaries and facilities.”