Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Favouring the arguments of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the Chennai based Centre for Traditional Medicines and Research (CTMR), a research institute giving guidance and training to Ayush doctors, has now taken a U-turn in the issue of practicing allopathic system by ISM doctors.
The Centre had categorically said that it favours the IMA in their arguments that the Ayush practitioners are not eligible to practice allopathy or do surgery because the basic understanding and principles of health, diseases and treatment are different for both the system. Further, the approach to treatment is also different.
The Centre’s secretary, Dr T Thirunarayanan, who is a research guide for practising traditional doctors and engaged in conducting Ayush training programs, has said that only basic medical sciences like anatomy, physiology, clinical microbiology and basics of clinical pathology are taught at undergraduate level of siddha education. This is purely for the purpose of comparative understanding and interpretation of clinical test reports. This does not mean that the siddha graduates can engage in the practice of modern healing system, he asserted.
According to him, the materia medica contains plant, animal and herbomineral drugs, and the modality of drug actions is based on five elements and ‘tridoshic’ principles (three humours) including taste, quality, aftertaste, potency and unique action, which are not similar to pharmacological actions as explained in the modern medicine. Therefore it is wrong to claim that the siddha graduates possess the knowledge of bio-medicine, he said.
“The bio-medicine terminology is being taught to the siddha students only for the purpose of understanding the surgical conditions. No surgical procedures are taught to them and no practical training is imparted. Only the students of Govt Siddha Medical College, Chennai have the opportunity to learn in the department of obstetrics & gynaecology of the Kilpauk Medical College and none of the students of siddha from other eight colleges has this kind of facility”, Thirunarayanan said.
Dr Thirunarayanan, who was also a lecturer of siddha previously, commented that Central Council of Indian Medicines was formed by the Act of Indian Constitution which meant only for deciding teaching and regulating ethical practices of Indian systems of medicine. Therefore, it has no mandate to recommend training and allowing practice of modern medicine, and their notification in this regard is erroneous.
While sharing his opinion with Pharmabiz, the siddha scholar pointed out that proper orientation was needed to the siddha doctors who strived for permission in practicing modern medicine. He said in remote areas some siddha doctors might have been given permission to provide first aid treatment but that does not allow them to take advantage of the situation. He said the IMA should also insist on the Government to provide adequate funds for Siddha in public health system and encourage siddha doctors in GHs and PHCs and treat them as equal partners who work for the wellbeing of the society.
Recently the issue reached the single bench of the Madras High Court and the court held that the registered ISM practitioners could practice surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, anaesthesiology, ENT, ophthalmology, etc. Against this judgement, the IMA has decided to file appeal in the high court soon.