IMA Doctors Launch Hunger Strike to Protest GOI Decision to Allow Ayurveda Practitioners to Perform Surgery
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) started Monday a hunger strike relay across 50 places across the country in protest against the Centre’s authorisation of post-graduate Ayurveda practitioners to perform general surgery.
In November, the Central Council of Indian Medicine, a statutory body under the AYUSH Ministry, graduates of the Ayurvedic MS (General Surgery) post-graduation degree as Shalya Tantra and Shalakya Tantra—practitioners who allowed to do 58 types of surgeries including technically competent procedures on the eyes, ears, nose, throat, mouth, and more, as well as plastic surgeries. This hunger strike escalates a nationwide protest on the same issue in December.
The IMA is intensifying its agitation in order to “restore the purity of modern medical profession”. ‘Mixopathy’ will be detrimental to the public and the sanctity of the individual system of medicine will be diluted and lost, said the statement released by the association.
While public health care experts have emphasised the importance of AYUSH in healthcare, from both an anthropological and a historical perspective, it is the mixing of the two systems of medicine that the IMA condemns. “IMA acknowledges that the Indian population needs different systems of medicine for different conditions of diseases and for promoting wellness. However, we strongly oppose the proposal to make a single doctor practicing all systems together as it will hamper quality and safety as he will lack in-depth knowledge on the particular system of medicine. IMA supports polypathy but not ‘mixopathy’ and kitchadi-fication of healthcare systems,” Dr. Jayesh Lele, IMA’s honorary secretary-general, told The Indian Express.
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While the geographical relay strike will continue till February 14, women doctors will lead the nationwide hunger strike on February 7. All specialty associations have also joined the strike through the Federation of Medical Associations under the aegis of IMA. The IMA has also asked its Medical Students’ Network (MSN), Junior Doctors’ Network (JDN), IMA Women’s’ Wing, IMA Hospital Board, in-service doctors, and medical colleges to participate in the strike. It has also appealed to various international medical associations for support against the Government’s notification.
The association will also launch an awareness drive as part of its Save Healthcare India Movement as “there is a clear threat to the safety of healthcare of people,” the statement said. It will release posters and banners across the country and the IMA national president and secretary-general, along with other IMA leaders, will visit various places across the country to enhance the public safety movement.