Healthy red tape required
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has done well to slam the Health Ministry for its indifference towards promoting indigenous systems of medicine in the country.india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 00:50 IST
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has done well to slam the Health Ministry for its indifference towards promoting indigenous systems of medicine in the country. In a report released recently, the CAG points out appalling irregularities and lapses by the government in the management of ayurvedic and other traditional systems of medicine in India. The authorities have swept a whole range of indiscretions under the carpet, including poor quality control and absence of effective regulation to check government expenditure that produced no results.
It is a shame, for instance, that none of the scores of colleges that were audited, “had adequate infrastructure, faculty, attached hospitals with requisite bed strength and out-patient or in-patient department facilities in accordance with norms laid down by regulatory councils”. Pharmacopoeia committees have failed to set standards for formulations. It’s shocking that even the five top level institutes — set up by the ministry as centres of excellence for imparting high quality education and research — figure in this list. Of late, sub-standard ayurvedic formulations have increasingly found their way into the market, threatening to give the system of medicine itself a bad name. It isn’t surprising that several countries have banned the import of ayurvedic formulations from prominent Indian exporters. This is most unfortunate because ayurveda has been showing signs of veering towards complementary healthcare, with Western and ayurvedic physicians often working side by side. Indian practitioners are rightly proud of sharing this knowledge with their Western counterparts and inspiring a major movement in body-mind-spirit medicine throughout Europe, Australia and the US.
But health authorities must realise that without standardisation, adequate research and development, and strict monitoring and control, any effort to integrate these medicines with allopathy in primary healthcare will not succeed.