A hard pill to digest

Rajitha Menon, DH News Service, Jan 4 2018, 21:39 IST
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It is getting hard to keep track of the number of protests and demonstrations happening across the length and breadth of the country daily. While some of them certainly do not deserve the excessive attention (though we are glad that Deepika Padukone's nose was spared in return for an 'i'), others deserved the debates and discussions they sparked.

The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, which was tabled in Parliament on Friday, proposes allowing practitioners of alternative medicines such as Homoeopathy and Ayurveda practise Allopathy after completing a 'bridge course'. The contentious provision sparked off protests by the medical fraternity across the country and even though the bill has now been referred to a parliamentary standing committee, the anger refuses to die down.

Dr Bharath Kumar, President, Karnataka Medical Students and Youth Doctor Association, says, "A bridge course to Ayush practitioners can only teach them how to do symptomatic treatment. Like prescribing a Paracetamol for a fever or an acidity killer for abdominal pain. But it will be difficult for them to diagnose the cause of such problems." "For example, Ayush doctors may prescribe pain relief medicines for a person complaining of chest pain. But what if he had a heart attack?" he asks.

Noting that it seems to be a move to fill the many vacant seats in AYUSH courses in colleges, he goes on to add that a proposal like this degrades systems like Ayurveda and Homeopathy that have a long history. He also points out that their practitioners are themselves opposing such a move.

Dr Nagashri, who has been practising Homoeopathy for the last 15 years, agrees. "We are all specialised in our own courses. We have studied Allopathy in college but when it comes to medication, it is better to stick to what we know."

She adds, "I am not against the bill. In case there is an emergency, we can handle it. Especially in rural areas, where there is deficiency of doctors, a bridge course may help. But I am not agreeable to this on a regular basis. I think my profession is great and I should do justice to it."

Rumela Nellore, a homemaker, is clear about how she feels about this move. "I will not go to those doctors for Allopathic medicines. I would go to them for Ayurveda and Homeopathic treatment but this proposal is kind of scary."

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