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Acute doctor shortage in state is hot topic at ‘coffee with Awhad’

Homoeopathy, ayurvedic practitioners prescribing allopathic medicines is ‘need of the hour’, a ‘friendly handshake with doctors’, says medical education minister.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Updated: June 17, 2014 3:13:20 am
Students at the ‘Coffee with Minister’ interaction at B J Medical College on Monday. ( Express Photo by:  Sandeep Daundkar ) Students at the ‘Coffee with Minister’ interaction at B J Medical College on Monday. ( Express Photo by: Sandeep Daundkar )

For a state with a dismal ratio of one doctor to 1,900 people, allowing homoeopathy and ayurvedic practitioners to prescribe allopathic drugs — after some basic allopathic training — was a necessity and need of the hour, according to medical education minister Jitendra Awhad. He described the legislature ratifying the move as a “friendly handshake with doctors.”

“WHO guidelines prescribe one doctor for a population of 400. Where are our doctors today? MBBS doctors are busy studying for specializations,” Awhad told B J Medical College students on Monday when asked how doctors practising traditional medicine could prescribe allopathic drugs. The minister was here as part of his new initiative to interact with students of medicine across the state, over a cup of coffee.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), which has been opposing the move, is waiting for the state’s written notification before approaching court.

“We are willing to go to rural ar”as,” a doctor from among those present at BJMC told the minister who shot back that no one was ready to go to places like Chandrapur, Nandurbar and Dhule. “According to our survey there are just 14 doctors in one of the tehsils of Chandrapur,” Avhad said.

“More than 6,000 ayurveda practitioners have been agitating and had attempted fast-unto-death to ensure they can prescribe allopathic drugs. Today majority of hospitals are flooded with doctors from homeopathy and ayurveda. Why not ensure they get trained in a year’s course in pharmacology and provide basic allopathic medication,” he asked.

Dr Dilip Sarda, president of the state unit of IMA said the day the bill was passed in the legislature was a black Friday (June 13). “We will wait for the government notification on the issue and file a writ in High Court opposing”it,” Sarda said.

Dr Mandar Ranade, national spokesperson for National Integrated Medical Association and others welcomed the passing of the bill. A section of homoepathic doctors on condition of anonymity said that it would, however, kill their science of treatment. Delhi-based Central Council of Homeopathy said it will not allow homoeopaths to study allopathy as it was a different branch of medicine. The Maharashtra Council of Homeopathy felt the decision was forced by requirements of the medical system in the state.

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