Indian Medical Association (IMA), the national voluntary organization of the allopathic doctors, has slammed the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) notification authorising post-graduate Ayurveda practitioners to be trained to perform general surgical procedures. In order to maintain its monopoly over the surgical procedures, the IMA released a very hard-hitting response against the CCIM’s notification which said that post-graduate Ayurvedic doctors need to train in 39 general surgery procedures and around 19 procedures involving the eye, ear, nose and throat to address the shortfall of doctors in the country.
“The entire modern medical profession of the nation feels betrayed by the level of violation and encroachment by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM),” reads the press release of IMA. The IMA also attached the New Education Policy, given the fact that the policy document has asked for flexibility in modern medical education. Susruta, an Ayurvedic practitioner who lived in the Kingdom of Kashi in 800BC, is regarded as the ‘father of surgery’. But the IMA is discrediting the whole Ayurvedic system of medicine in order to maintain its monopoly in the Indian medicine world.
“It is nothing but a blatant attempt at mixopathy and khichadification of medical education and practice. The CCIM amendments cannot be seen in isolation. The National Education Policy 2020 speaks of medical pluralism and lateral entry laying the foundation legitimising mixopathy,” said the IMA National President Rajan Sharma.
CCIM is the regulatory body of the medical system in India which includes Ayurveda and Siddha forms that have been practised in India since thousands of years and are well-known for their effectiveness.
CCIM, a statutory body under AYUSH Ministry, released the notification on November 20 to liberalize the medical education and end ‘compartmentalization’, as argued in NEP. But, since then, the IMA is after CCIM and AYUSH Ministry because it tried to break their monopoly. “The AYUSH ministry has issued a clarification claiming the technical terms and the modern developments are a common heritage of mankind. IMA rejects the clarification as deceptive camouflage of mixing the systems of medicine,” the body said in a statement signed by IMA president Dr Rajan Sharma and IMA honorary secretary-general Dr RV Asokan.
Responding to IMA’s criticism, the Chairman of the regulatory body for Ayurveda, the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), Vaid Jayant Deopujari, said that the objection by IMA is just “hypocrisy”.
“95% ICUs are manned by Ayush practitioners, not just in Maharashtra or Gujarat, but across the country. It is the allopathy doctors who teach them everything about how to manage the ICU, insert a central line, give IV etc. Why do they do it? For them, to make money. Then these doctors go and sit in the Indian Medical Association and object to Ayush doctors being used. It is just hypocrisy,” he said.
In the interview with the Times of India, he also talked about the fact that Susruta talked about various surgeries centuries ago, and we just need to upgrade them with modern scientific advancement. “Sushruta mentions cataract removal but there was no lens to put in at that time. Now that lenses are available, why shouldn’t ayurvedic surgeons implant them? Phacoemulsification is just about buying a machine and getting trained to use it. We are allowed to incorporate advances in modern technology and advances in science to supplement the Indian system of medicine. This is mentioned in the new law passed, the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Act, 2020. It was also mentioned in the 1970 Act, showing that this vision was clearly there right from the start,” he said.
The IMA should not discredit a whole branch of medicine which has been traditionally practised in India and has been long known for its effectiveness, just for narrow self-interest and needs to be broad-minded about accepting the ancient scientific knowledge.