Deployed on Chandigarh Health department’s Rapid Response duty, AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) doctors say that they are uncomfortable prescribing allopathic medicines to residents since they do not possess the required expertise. Doctors on Rapid Response duty have to often prescribe allopathic medicines to people who call upon the AYUSH doctors suspecting they or their neighbours have contracted COVID-19. “I cannot lie to my patients. I cannot pretend to be an expert in Allopathy. I can only prescribe Ayurvedic medicine, and that is not effective in emergency medical situations, especially for severe COVID-19 like flu symptoms,” says an AYUSH doctor on duty at the UT’s Zone 1.
Chandigarh has been divided into four zones, which are looked after by different COVID-19 Rapid Response teams. Each team consists of a driver, a member of paramedical staff and a doctor. AYUSH doctors are often posted on duty instead of MBBS doctors, as is mentioned in Health department’s May roster.
“When on door-to-door duty to checkup on possible COVID-19 patients, many turn out to have mild symptoms or symptoms of other diseases and we still have to provide them with basic medicines, which we carry in our van. I do not feel comfortable prescribing these medicines, so I often rely on an intern for the same,” says another AYUSH doctor who was posted on Rapid Response duty a week back. The doctor adds that she will be more efficient in prescribing prophylactic Ayurveda medicine to boost immunity.
“I will go for duty but I will honestly tell them that I am not qualified to prescribe allopathic medicine. We cannot lie to people like that,” says the AYUSH doctor at Zone 1. The officials at the health department refused to comment on the issue.
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