“New health policy to place primacy on evidence-based treatment”

Dr Harsh Vardhan meets Yoga guru Ram Dev
Haridwar, A“For the first time since 1947, the government’s health policy is going to lay primary emphasis on the Ayurveda Siddhanta. This is in tune with the times as World Health Organisation (WHO) has given considerable importance to Ayurveda in its activities related to traditional medicine,” Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan said at Haridwar, today. 

Speaking to reporters after laying the foundation stone of a “Global museum of Ayurveda and Herbal Medicine” at Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Yoga Pitha, Dr Harsh Vardhan said the government would work towards strengthening Ayurveda’s global acceptance as evidence-based medicine. 

WHO has contributed substantially towards the implementation of pharmaco-vigilance in Ayurveda and the publication of documents for rational use and initiatives to prepare consumer guidelines for appropriate use of Ayurvedic medicines.

“Now every AIIMS centre will have an indigenous medicine department of which Ayurveda will be a major component. AIIMS Rishikesh will take the lead in this as steps are underway to have a 100-bed AYUSH Hospital and land for medicinal herb cultivation facility for standardised production of medicines,” the Health Minister said.

On AYUSH, the government has set up a “Committee of Directors” to recommend a blue print for the operationalisation of a yoga training and therapy centre at AIIMS Rishikesh. The committee will be headed by Dr Raj Kumar, Director, AIIMS- Rishikesh, and hold its first meeting on August 4, the Minister stated.

“The old, allopathy orientation of AIIMS is out of sync with the contemporary trend of integrating indigenous and western forms of cure. That is why I wish to give Yoga, along with Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy pride of place in the AIIMS system. All the six new AIIMS will be dynamic institutions of integrated medicine in the years to come,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

Baba Ram Dev told reporters that he appreciated the Narendra Modi government’s commitment to represent evidence-based treatment in a positive light to the people.

The Minister and the Yoga Guru had a detailed discussion on research trends in modern science and clinical applications of Yoga and Ayurveda. Dr Harsh Vardhan remarked that he was pleased to hear of the guru’s monumental work in developing a World Herbal Encyclopaedia.

Earlier in the day, the Minister visited two hospitals in Haridwar district: Har Milap Mission General Government Hospital and Government Mela District Hospital. He was accompanied by Dr Nishank, the MP of Haridwar, Mr Madan Kaushik, MLA, the Mayor of Haridwar, BJP leaders and officials. He inspected the male and female wards, diagnostic facilities, ICU and Operation Theatre. After interacting with patients, nurses, doctors and health department officials, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that there was an urgent need to upgrade the facilities and equip them adequately. The health officials demanded upgradation of radiology, ICU, advanced life support ambulances and provision of CT scan.

The Minister told reporters after inspecting the facilities at the two hospitals that Haridwar is a major pilgrimage centre and should have better health infrastructure. Moreover, the Ardh Kumb Mela, scheduled for early 2016 would place great stress on the existing facilities, he added. There is one other government hospital in the district, the CRW District Hospital for women.
The Minister said he would be willing to fit out the hospitals of Haridwar with better departments, diagnostic facilities, blood banks and more staff. “I will clear all necessary resources as soon as the state government asks for it,” he told reporters.
He visited a camp organised under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram at Rashtriya Inter-College Bahadrabad near Haridwar. He expressed satisfaction at the convergence of Education, Social Welfare, Integrated Child Development Services (Women & Child) and Health Departments of the Uttarakhand Government at the centre.
After a discussion with the District Magistrate, Mr Senthil Kumar, the Minister commented that such coming-together of different social development-oriented departments was a welcome development. “I hope it serves as a model”, he remarked.
In all, 892 children attended the camp. After screening them for various health issues, the medicos present referred 44 for higher treatment in Dehra Dun. When the DM said two Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres—at Luxor and Roorkee—would be a big help for special treatment to under-nourished children, the Minister said he would do his best to ensure that they are set up, and also promised to do his best to improve conditions in the hospitals of the state.
“We have to hold the hands of the people. There are possibilities that they would get lost in the system or even frustrated for want of proper services. Such a mindset might force them to turn fatalistic, which is not good for national development,” he added.
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