“Debate Over Ayurvedic, Unani Docs Prescribing Allopathy Drugs Rages”
Ahmedabad: Each day, thousands in Gujarat’s villages, towns and even cities are prescribed allopathic drugs by ayurvedic and Unani doctors. What’s more, these doctors are employed by the state health department at various public health centres. To top it all, they are in huge numbers and reign over MBBS doctors by a whoping 44%.
It’s a huge anomaly that has been vexing the state for a long time and surely in the light of the supreme court and high court strictures, this public health issue needs an immediate remediation. The state health minister blames a severe shortage of MBBS doctors and in turn the severe shortage of medical colleges to churn out doctors.
“More than 10 medical colleges will come up in the state in next five years, which is more than what this state witnessed in the last 50 years. Training in 108 emergency services and basic health care is being given to these doctors. We have up to 40% shortage of MBBS doctors,” said Gujarat health minister Jay Narayan Vyas.
The state health department had issued a circular in May 2003 according to which, Gujarat Medical Practitioners Act does not bar ayurvedic doctors from practising allopathy. The circular refers to Section 17(3)(B) of Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, which allows ayurveda graduates to practise allopathy. However, way back in 1994, the Gujarat government had given an assurance to the high court that they would take strict action against ayurveda doctors practising allopathy.
It says that the SC had, in a judgement in 1987, observed: “No state government can allow a person by any act to practise allopathic medicine unless registered in the state medical register.” However, two years later in the case of Dr Sarwan Singh Dardi versus the state of Punjab and Haryana, the apex court had detailed that a non-allopath can have access to certain modern systems of medicine.
“In that case why is an allopath not allowed to practise or even recommend medicines prescribed under ayurveda, Unani or homeopathy? It’s an anomaly that needs to be corrected and it has to be taken in the light of rising health concerns of the state,” said the state health department official. “We will try to fill these vacant posts,” said Vyas.