|Demand of the question Introduction. Contextual introduction. Body. Discuss how traditional Indian systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Homeopathy and Unani can provide a sustainable and more affordable healthcare system. Conclusion. Way forward.|
Traditional medicine is considered as a major healthcare provider around the globe particularly in rural and remote areas. Indian traditional medicinal systems like Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani have a very rich history of their effectiveness. Mainstreaming of such medicine is important for the people. Evidence based incorporation of Indian traditional medicine in clinical practice will help to provide quality healthcare to all.
How will strengthening of traditional medicine will help in the achievement of sustainable and more affordable healthcare system?
- Accessibility: Despite tremendous advances the healthcare system lag behind in accessibility, availability and affordability in many parts of India. Integration of Ayurvedic and other Indian traditional medicine will be helpful in promoting the health of the people who are unable to access modern medicine.
- Affordability: Variety, flexibility, easy availability, religious/social acceptance, relative low side effect and cost are the key factors for the need for revival of traditional medicine. The revival also provides us the opportunity to integrate such medicine in primary healthcare to facilitate the people’s health.
- Doctor’s availability: At present, an acute shortage of allopathic doctors exists in India. In India, the ratio of the doctor-patient is 1:1700. The ratio will come to 1:800 if the AYUSH practitioners are added. Thus, AYUSH practitioners can help in plugging gaps due to shortage of doctors.
- Prevent common diseases: Strengthening traditional medicine will help in prevention of common diseases due to their less side effects and long term benefits. A study in rural areas of West Bengal shows that folk medicine plays a key role to prevent common diseases like small injuries, skin disease, fever, dehydration, diabetes, high BP, liver disease etc. in a better way.
- Rural reach: In rural areas, indigenous medicine plays a significant role in primary healthcare for prevention/management of common ailments. If quacks are trained they can be a vehicle of providing low cost healthcare especially in remote areas.
Indian traditional medicine like Ayurveda and others have a sound scientific background of effectiveness and also acknowledged by recent research. Although efforts are needed to overcome barriers like irrational use, quality control and standardisation issues etc. Overall, adequate knowledge about the system, high quality clinical trial, proper information about such drugs and their effectiveness among common people required towards the promotion of such medicine.