Nationwide strike by doctors against centre’s ayurveda surgery move

Resident doctors join IMA protest against Ayurveda practitioners being trained as surgeons

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Pritha Roy Choudhury | December 12, 2020 | 10:11 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) and resident doctors across the country staged protests on Friday over the Centre’s move to allow postgraduate Ayurveda practitioners to be trained in surgery.

Doctors wore black badges to register their protest. The Out-Patient Department (OPD) services in most of the hospitals across states were shut. The IMA had called for the withdrawal of non-essential and non-COVID services for 12 hours, between 6 AM and 6 PM.

“In Kerala, the OPD services in all the hospitals were shut today,” said Jeevan P S, a resident doctor in Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.

Doctors in Karnataka staged a symbolic candlelight protest in the evening shouting slogans, “We want justice, say no to mixopathy.”

A notification by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) on November 19, 2020, states that a post-graduate Ayurvedic doctor is eligible to perform 58 different kinds of surgeries after a two years training period.

The IMA has recently opposed several government policies, including the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, arguing that they promote “crosspathy”. Moreover, they accused the government of encouraging “quackery, mixopathy, and crosspathy” and a “khichdi medical system”.


Ayurvedic doctors allowed surgery training

Students say that the government’s decision to allow postgraduate ayurvedic practitioners to be trained in surgery will be harmful to the common man.

“If we compare modern medicine with what they teach in Ayurveda, it is going to hamper the quality of life. It is harmful to the common man. They do not have the training for surgery,” said Adarsh Pratap Singh, studying to be a super-specialist in breast and endocrine oncology at All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi.

“A surgeon takes almost ten years to gain expertise in surgery, it is not that easy. So such a decision is not going to benefit anyone,” he added.

“If you take the eye, cataract surgery is one of the most intricate surgeries in the body. Even a trained MS Ophthalmology doctor has to undergo two years of fellowship and several years of practice to give the " magical" results that the public enjoys now,” said Namrata C, a postgraduate medical student at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute.


Doctors strike

Students also point out that the pharmacology learnt by those in mainstream medical education is entirely different from that learnt by Ayush doctors.

“My question is how can they do surgery without learning basic pharmacology? There they are using Ayurvedic drugs for anaesthesia and all that,” said Jeevan.

“We are against this mixopathy plan. We are not against Ayurveda, we are against the mixing of Ayurveda and allopathy,” added Jeevan.

Surgery is introduced for students of medicine studying for an MBBS degree when they are in the second year of their undergraduate medical studies.

“Whatever they are taught is very different from what we are taught. Now, they are being introduced to surgery after they have completed their post-graduation,” said Singh. ”The worrying factor is that they will be allowed to perform surgeries, ophthalmic, oral or gynaecological, after a two-year training period.”

“We are forced to protest during this COVID-19 pandemic, which is not good. But we are being made to do it, I just hope the government understands,” said Arnav Thrinath, an MBBS student at AIIMS, Delhi.

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