Doctors want Kerala govt to include ayurveda in state E-health programme

Even as the government of Kerala is busy preparing an E-Health Programme to bring all health related information of hospitals and patients into a centralized information system to ensure continuity in healthcare, the ayurvedic fraternity including the government doctors is intensifying their efforts to get their system included in the programme.

According to Kerala Government Ayurveda Medical Officers Association (KGAMOA), presently E-Health programme of the government includes only projects on allopathic treatments. So, to explore avenues for getting a position for ayurveda in the IT oriented health projects, KGAMOA has urged the state government to revise all projects and include the traditional system of Kerala into the e-health program of the government.

After submitting memorandum to the health minister in this regard, the general secretary of KGAMOA, Dr M Sharmad Khan said the e-health programme is an integrated health project covering the entire health sector of Kerala including all the public healthcare institutions. But in all the projects of the programme, Ayurveda has been ignored and no project for traditional medicines is envisaged.

He said, while implementing the projects, more ayurvedic and naturopathy dispensaries can be opened in the IT centres like Techno Park, Infosys and the like. The programme should not be an initiative of allopathy alone.

While speaking to Pharmabiz, Dr Sharmad alleged that the ayurvedic health sector in the state was full of problems and despite several clamors, the government was not interested to address the problems, especially the pathetic  condition of the hospitals.

“Even after 65 years of independence, more than 150 Punchayaths in the state have no government dispensaries for ayurveda which is the own traditional healing system of Kerala. Out of these 150 Punchayaths, certain villages have the central government sponsored NRHM units, whereas in 37 Punchayaths neither NRHM unit nor state dispensary is functioning,” he said.

Regarding speciality treatment facilities in government hospitals, he said not all the district hospitals or the general hospitals have such units and doctors were not appointed. He said there is no shortage of specialized PG holders looking for jobs in the government sector and they should be appointed in the vacancies of the hospitals.

Government should also envisage projects to start Taluk Hospitals for Ayurveda, unani, siddha, naturopathy and homoeopathy. Dr Sharmad said presently there are only two hospitals in the Taluk level in Kerala, one in Mavelikkara and other one in Kasargodu. All the hospitals are facing shortage of all varieties of medicines also.

“The most pathetic condition prevailing in certain government hospitals is lack of therapists for holding Panchakarma chikitsa for IP patients. Now the treatment is done in many hospitals by nurses, and they too are inexperienced in therapy. There are eight specialty treatments in Ayurveda such as Kaaya chikitsa (general medicine), Baala chikitsa (paediatrics), Graha chikitsa (psychiatry), Oordhwanga chikitsa (ENT, ophthalmology and dentistry), Salya chikitsa (ortho anorectal diseases), Damshtra chikitsa (toxicology), Jara chikitsa (geriatrics) and Vrisha chikitsa (afrodisiac). No hospital in Kerala has the facility for all these eights treatments. Only Kaaya chikitsa is available in most of the district hospitals,” the secretary of KGAMOA told Pharmabiz.

The association also demanded to the government to start more Ayurveda hospitals in the tourist centres and special packages of tourism should include ayurveda and naturopathy dispensaries.