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Par panel recommends Ayush-health ministry collaboration to establish pluralistic healthcare system

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New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) A parliamentary committee has recommended the Ayush Ministry to collaborate with the Union Ministry of Health to implement measures ensuring that the health workforce comprehends the importance of integrating systems.

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The collaboration aims to establish a pluralistic health system that caters to the population's diverse needs, the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare said in its report "Review of National Ayush Mission in India", presented in Parliament on Friday.

The committee also suggested incorporating the awareness of Ayush systems into school curricula, a significant step towards minimising knowledge barriers between Ayush and modern medicine.

"Facilitating a dialogue among health providers from various systems becomes imperative for optimising patient outcomes. Substantial reforms in Indian medical education are essential to instil in medical students and practitioners an attitude supportive of the integration of modern medicine and traditional medicine," it said in the report.

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The committee noted that like China, the Ministry of Ayush's efforts to establish 12,500 Health and Wellness Centres (now renamed as Arogya Mandirs) go a long way in establishing Ayush as a medicinal system with the potential to fulfil the objectives of the universal health program.

"Like China, the government of India should also devise ways to integrate the Ayush system with poverty alleviation initiatives to boost community engagement," it said.

The committee also recommended the government intensify its focus on implementing the National Ayush Mission (NAM) by strategically aligning its objectives with mainstream healthcare delivery.

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"The collaboration between traditional and modern medical practitioners will be crucial in the effective implementation of NAM," it said.

Additionally, investing in robust research and development, enhancing educational institutions and promoting awareness will contribute to establishing Ayush as a viable and integral part of the healthcare system, the report stated.

"Physicians from both systems can work together to develop comprehensive treatment plans for patients, considering both Indian and Western medical perspectives," it said.

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The committee recommended the ministry ensure there is at least one specialist practitioner in Ayurveda, homoeopathy, yoga or Siddha in these co-located facilities.

"The committee hopes that this initiative may result in integrating the Ayush system of medicine for managing chronic conditions like respiratory ailments, digestive problems, and musculoskeletal disorders," the report said.

The panel further recommended upgrading infrastructure and providing training opportunities for Ayush practitioners at the health and wellness centres to enhance their research skills and capacity to participate in clinical trials.

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The panel also emphasised developing standardised protocols for Ayush interventions, stating that it can ensure data consistency and enable robust clinical research.

Data gathered and generated in centres should be recorded and publicised.

The clinically supported research and peer-reviewed articles should be placed in Ayush and allopathic medical colleges for better outreach, understanding, and coordination, the committee stated.

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The committee flagged concerns raised over the high metal content in the Ayush drugs while acknowledging the measures taken by the ministry in pharmacovigilance.

To accentuate these measures, it recommended that the ministry further strengthen regulatory frameworks by developing user-friendly systems for healthcare professionals and consumers to report adverse events related to Ayush medicines.

The ministry should also conduct regular post-marketing surveillance of Ayush medicines to monitor real-world safety and efficacy. This provides ongoing data for continuous improvement of quality. The generated data may also help identify potential safety concerns and take prompt action, the panel said.

The committee also stated that standardised data collection can pave the way for identifying biomarkers associated with specific Ayush interventions, opening doors for further research into mechanisms of action and personalised medicine. PTI PLB IJT IJT

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