“If you cannot compete, impede.”
The term ‘Mixopathy” does not have a dictionary meaning, nor does it have a legitimate definition behind its origin and use, it is as illegitimate as the government intention behind the notification to legalise the practice of allopathic procedures by Ayurvedic doctors.
Over the past few years, there has been a systematic attempt by the government to hijack, destabilise and crush the Indian healthcare system under its malicious and dictatorial feet. After all, you cannot argue with the government, certainly not on the rational ground. The democratically elected Medical Council of India was dissolved, its officials literally dragged out and replaced by a government chosen NMC with non-medical representative sworn in, to carry out vested political and business interest of the government and politicians. Nowhere in the world, there is a parallel. Nowhere in the world non-professionals govern an academic professional body. And all this is being done under the guise of reforms to cure an ailing system, under the veil of goodness, to make the healthcare more affordable and accessible to reach a larger population and villages. But this immature and garish hiccups to play with the system as also with lives of over a billion Indians only exposes the government’s lack of understanding and ground realities, even as the malicious intent remains oblivious to many. So let’s dissect the entire set of changes piece by piece, starting first with ‘Mixopathy’ since the current crisis.
The ill-effects of the non-medical, ignorant lot, who lack both the intention as well as the capability to govern healthcare systems as renowned as the Indian Medical System which has produced several outstanding doctors who are respected the world over, have started surfacing up.
The government notification issued on 20 November listed 58 varieties of surgeries that postgraduate Ayurveda medical students must be “practically trained to acquaint with, as well as to independently perform”. These surgeries include general surgery, orthopaedic, ophthalmology, ENT and dental surgeries. The gazette notification issued by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), a statutory body under the AYUSH Ministry, listed 39 general surgery procedures and 19 other procedures, involving the eye, ear, nose and throat, by amending the Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Regulations, 2016.
The IMA is strongly resisting this move and some of them going as far calling this legalization of quackery. Dr Ashish Agarwal president IMA Ghaziabad said in a press briefing that ‘we are not opposed to any system of medicine let this be very clear, we are not against Ayurveda or homoeopathy, Government should develop these alternative systems of medicine to the best of its capabilities but this predatory poaching on modern medicine and its surgical branches is highly unacceptable’. Similar sentiments were echoed by other members and other branches of IMA and nationwide symbolic protests and disruption of non-emergency medical services are being observed.
Dr Gaurav Mittal, Secretary IMA West Ghaziabad, said in the general body meeting held on 8th December, ‘ if you like mangoes grow more mangoes, if you desire apples increase the number of apple farms but don’t just change the shape of apples to make them look like mangoes.’
- The problem with legalising so-called MIXOPATHY is that it will engender nothing but chaos, corruption and incompetence. As it is, there is no regulation to check the illegal use of modern medical techniques and procedure by untrained and incompetent quacks and alternative medicine procedures jeopardising the lives of the ignorant common man. This move will further lead to gangrenous changes in an already infected system.
- In the present circumstances, the choice of opting for enrollment under these alternative medical courses is not a free will choice, but rather the students who opt for these courses are the ones who are incompetent to gain admission in MBBS courses. The norms to start and run an Ayurvedic Medical college are much lenient and under supervised than that of an allopathic medical college. So allowing these doctors to practice modern medical procedures will not only be unfair to the meritorious MBBS students but also serve as the shortcut to breed incompetence.
- Since there is at present very little advancement in the Ayurvedic system of medicine and there isn’t a well-developed system of ongoing research and dissipation of knowledge at national and international forums and therefore, these alternative practitioners will be forced to use modern medicines and tools, something that may be conflicting or even contrary to their ideology and teachings. They are likely to use pharmacologic agents, which they have never studied. After all, would they use Ayurvedic anaesthesia for surgical procedures, or would they be relying on the Ayurvedic antibiotics to cure postoperative infections?
- A new generation of under competent doctors who will be confused and unsure of their own capabilities and methodologies will be born. This will not only tarnish the image of Indian doctors but also cause a detrimental blow to blooming medical tourism. Unsure of the treatment protocols and treating doctors’ credentials foreign nationals visiting India for treatment purposes will shy away.
- Intra-operative and Postoperative complications will rise exponentially, and the poor man will have to face the brunt of this ignorance. The rich and the affluent class including our political masters advocating this move will anyway scoot away to western countries for their medical needs.
WHY IS GOVERNMENT DOING THIS
- As I said earlier, there seems to be a vested political and business interest to hijack the healthcare system. Healthcare was the only industry if you could call it an industry, though formally this sector has not yet been granted that recognition denying it the benefits of the same, that remained unaffected during the economic slowdown or recession-free. Politicians and business corporates are eying this sector as their money-minting device, and all these so-called reforms are nothing but a tool to control this sector for their own benefits. Plant their puppets as policymakers even if they don’t have the capabilities and understanding to do so and squeeze the common man at the pretext of doing the greater good.
- And what is this greater good they are trying to claim? Inclusion of alternative medicine doctors into the mainstream will improve the poor doctor-patient ratio, and there will be a larger number of doctors to work in the rural system. A false, unrealistic, presumptuous and a dangerous claim, I must say. In all probabilities these dubiously trained practitioners will stay in cities and will prey on the patients in the guise of offering them specialist treatment, putting the lives of the common citizen at stake.
- If the intension is to improve doctor-patient ratio, then surely there are better alternatives available. As Dr Navneet from IMA Ghaziabad suggested, we have an ample force of post-graduate diploma holders in various specialities of modern medicine whose hands are curbed and progress halted just because they did two years of post MBBS training instead of three years of regular PG even though they have the requisite experience and the calibre. They are denied government services, jobs in medical colleges and even in private hospitals. Instead of promoting an alternative medicine professional and coaxing them to practice outside of their field, surely these diploma holders should be encouraged and promoted to fill up the faculty vacancies.
- Why can’t the number of PG seats be increased to match the number of MBBS seats to ensure that every MBBS student gets a PG, much better than bridge course, surely? And why can’t the government increase the number of MBBS seats itself to better the doctor patient ratio instead of finding cheaper and potentially detrimental options that may have far reaching ramifications.
- Develop and upgrade the Ayurvedic colleges, enhance research in their disciplines and encourage them to practice their own system with pride and honour. And let this choice of which system of treatment to choose to remain with the patient instead of providing him ‘Khichadi Doctors’.
- The focus shouldn’t veer away from quality on the pretext of increasing the numbers.