26 September 2011

Indigenous medicine losing favour

Indigenous medicine losing favour.

Times Of India, 09/09/2011

CHENNAI: Indigenous medicine is losing patronage in the country. The union health ministry has de-recognised nearly half of the colleges offering courses in Indian medicine due to the dwindling number of patients and poor infrastructure. Notifications denying permission have been issued to over 140 of the 320 colleges in the country. About 114 institutions have been granted permission while the results of the others are not known.
The Central Council for Indian Medicine (CCIM), the regulatory body for education in Indian medicine, inspected campuses and sent reports to the department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy). Based on these reports, the decision to cancel permission for some colleges, including those run by the centre and states, was taken. Karnataka topped the list with 33 colleges losing recognition, followed by Maharashtra with 25 and Uttar Pradesh with 16. Among the various streams of Indian medicine, Siddha colleges seemed to be the worst affected. Of the eight undergraduate medical colleges offering the course in the country, only one private institution was accorded permission. At the National Institute of Siddha, a central institution that runs postgraduate courses, the number of seats have been cut to half.
CCIM vice-president (Siddha) Dr V Stanley Jones said one of the main reasons for denial of permission was the lack of patronage from patients. The rule book makes it mandatory for at least 40% of the beds to be filled. In the government college for Siddha in Palayamkottai near Tirunelveli, the oldest such institution in the state, the bed strength was only 38% in 2010. "If there are no patients, there is nothing the college can teach students. We are now asking governments and colleges to take initiatives to bring in more public support," he said.
The number of seats for Ayurveda and Unani courses is also expected to come down drastically. Apart from the lack of adequate patients, there was also dearth of faculty and lack of infrastructure. Some state governments have approached AYUSH requesting it to reconsider their decisions. The Tamil Nadu government, commissioner of Indian medicine A Mohammed Aslam said, had managed to increase in-patient strength and recruitment of faculty was on. "We hope the decision is reconsidered," he said.
An AYUSH official from New Delhi, who did not want to be named, said colleges had been given enough time to rectify errors but nothing had changed. "If we don't take action now, we fear the quality of medical education will drop," he said.
Central Council for Indian Medicine vice-president said one of the main reason for denial of permission was the lack of patronage from patients. The rule book makes it mandatory for at least 40% of the beds to be filled.

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