A permanent national museum to showcase India's rich medical heritage is on the cards. The Planning Commission's steering committee on Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) for the 12th five-year Plan has recommended creation of an international standard medical museum, besides travelling exhibitions to showcase the indigenous rich heritage of traditional medicine.
The Committee, headed by Syeda Hameed, has said the museum will look at "the sociology, practice (oral traditions, codified traditions, surgery, pharmacy, therapy, dietetics and prevention), literature, music, botanical art and martial arts involved with traditional medicine," going deep into the streams like ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Yoga, Sowa-rigpa and folk medicine. The panel has also recommended starting a National Mission on Medical Manuscripts. The mission would be involved in "in-situ conservation of manuscripts, cataloguing, digitization, microfilming, critical editions, translations, publications and development of education modules on manuscriptology for AYUSH medical colleges and universities."
The Committee has called for mainstreaming of AYUSH under the National Rural Health Mission through universal coverage. At present, only 24.6% of the public health facilities has availed central assistance for AYUSH medicines. It has been proposed introduction of a National Eligibility Test (NET) for AYUSH teachers/ research fellows/ young post-graduates. "Persons who have qualified NET should be preferred for various research schemes," said the final recommendations of the steering committee. The department of AYUSH is also looking at putting together a composite National Essential Drug List containing both allopathic and AYUSH drugs.
Clinical management protocols or a "Joint behavior change plan" incorporating AYUSH-based lifestyle guidelines for adolescent health, geriatric care, mental health, non-communicable diseases, anemia and nutrition are also being developed. "Practitioners should be able to prescribe the same in all Primary Health Care settings," the committee said. "Standardization of classical formulations, AYUSH therapies and yoga practices to be given due focus," it added. The department estimates that there are around a million village-based, traditional AYUSH community health workers who possess knowledge related to various streams like midwifery, primary healthcare and bone setting. There are also more than 100 million households that possess knowledge of home remedies, ethnic foods and nutrition.
"The documentation of the traditional knowledge associated with medicinal plants is very important not only to preserve it for posterity but also to contest bio-piracy and bio-prospecting," the committee says. Experts say the AYUSH system can play a major role in promotive, preventive, rehabilitative and community health care as AYUSH medicines play a significant role in developing the immune system and increasing resistance to diseases.
"The strength of AYUSH lies in non-communicable diseases like diabetes and preventive cardiology, care of older persons and health problems/issues related to women and children. The 12th Plan strongly advocates mainstreaming of AYUSH so that it can contribute to achieving the national health outcome goals. An enabling framework for integrating AYUSH in medical education, health research and health services should accordingly be developed," it added.
Courtesy: Times of India