Indian doctors decry proposal to teach traditional medicine
- By: Ganapati Mudur
A proposal by the Indian health ministry to introduce courses in traditional medicine in colleges teaching modern medicine has kicked up a controversy, with doctors describing the plan as unwarranted and unsafe.
Top officials of the Indian Medical Association and the Medical Council of India have said that exposing students to different systems of medicine could promote ambiguity, confusion, and even quackery.
The health ministry's department of Indian systems of medicine has proposed lessons in ayurveda, siddha, and unani medicine to students pursuing modern medicine. Ayurveda and Siddha originated in India more than 3000 years ago, while Unani medicine was brought into the country by Arabs in the 14th century. They use drugs or concoctions derived from herbs, minerals, and plant oils. The three systems of medicine provide a parallel, public funded health care infrastructure in India.
India has over 485000 registered practitioners of ayurveda, siddha, or unani and 241