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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014
Nature’s treat
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 01, 2013
First Published: 15:26 IST(1/10/2013)
Last Updated: 16:47 IST(1/10/2013)
Times to come: Due to clinical efficacy and cost-effectiveness, the popularity of homeopathy is increasing. This has led to rising demand for homeopaths in India

The lowdown



Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine that essentially relies on the body’s natural system of healing. Diluted substances, mainly in tablet form, are prescribed to patients with the aim of ­triggering the body’s natural system of healing. Homeopathy is based on a fundamental tenet ‘like cures like,’ ie, substances that cause ­certain ­symptoms in a healthy person can also cure those same ­symptoms in ­an ailing person. This tenet was proposed by a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1700s. Homeopaths employ a holistic approach while treating patients — in other words they believe in treating the ­person rather than his/her ­illness alone. A homeopath typically begins by ­taking detailed notes of the patient’s ­medical history, ­temperament, ­family ­history of diseases, diet and ­lifestyle. Based on this, he/she prescribes an ­appropriate medicine to each patient. The ­popularity of homoeopathy is ­increasing in India due to its clinical efficacy, cost-effectiveness and ­government support. Thus, homoeopaths are much in demand and have a range of career options such as teaching, private practice, research, etc. Homeopaths can also work as medical officers at ­dispensaries of state governments and municipal corporations of Delhi. They can also be employed at organisations like New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Employees’ State Insurance Corporation and National Rural Health Mission

Clockwork
Work schedule of a homeopathic doctor working in a hospital:
8.45am: Reach hospital
9am to 11am: Take classes with undergraduate and postgraduate students, attend management ­meetings
11.15am to 1pm: Another round of classes with undergraduate ­students
1pm to 1.45pm: Lunch
1.45pm to 4.15pm: Conduct ­classes, journal club and clinical ­presentations for students. Take a round of inpatient department (IPD) 5pm to 8.30pm: Attend private ­clinic

The ­payoff
In the government sector:
Entry level: Rs. 45,000 per month
Middle level: Rs. 70,000 per month
Senior level: Rs. 90,000 per month
Private practitioners can earn ­anything between Rs. 50,000 per month to Rs. 1 lakh per month. For a senior doctor with roaring practice/multiple clinics, the sky is the limit

Skills/TRAITS
* You must be a good listener, able to gauge psychological as well as physical problems to make ­diagnosis easy and find a quick cure for the patient
* Good powers of observation
* Being a good counsellor is also important in this profession
* Untiring zeal to restore the sick to health

Getting there
Take up physics, chemistry and ­biology in Class 11 and 12 and then do a bachelor of homeopathic ­medicine and surgery (BHMS) ­programme, which is the minimum essential qualification. This ­five-and-a-half-year course includes a year’s compulsory internship. After getting a BHMS degree from a ­recognised institute, one has a number of options, like teaching, private practice, research, etc. Else, you can specialise in the following subjects — materia medica, study of homoeopathic drugs; organon of medicine, study of homoeopathic philosophy; repertory, which is indexing of symptoms; pharmacy; practice of medicine; paediatrics; psychology. After specialisation, one can work as a medical officer at ­dispensaries of the Delhi government, Municipal Corporation of Delhi and New Delhi Municipal Corporation; in the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS); in Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) and in the National Rural Health Mission. Else, you can go in for a three-year postgraduate course in homeopathy

Institutes and URLs
* National Institute of Homoeopathy, Kolkata
www.nih.nic.in
* Nehru Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital, New Delhi www.nhmc.delhigovt.nic.in
* BR Sur Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital, New Delhi delhi.gov.in/wps/wcm/connect/doit_hmch/SHMCH/Home
* JSPS Government Homeopathic Medical College, Hyderabad
japosa.org/JSPSG-HMC-History.html
* Government Homoeopathic Medical College, Calicut
www.ghmccalicut.org

Pros and cons
* Healing the sick is great
* Good growth prospects in a ­government set-up
* Homeopathy has its limitations in terms of ­handling emergencies
* No specialisation in surgery

Homeopathy is the second largest medical system and fastest growing as compared to any other system in the world. But still, a lot of research work needs to be done Dr Praveen Raj P, professor, Father Muller Homeopathic Medical College, Mangalore


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