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IMA strike over ‘Ayurveda surgeons’: 30,000 from Gujarat join protest, AIIMS doctors wear black band

The IMA has given a call for withdrawal of non-essential and non-COVID services between 6 am and 6 pm on Friday to protest against the notification.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 11, 2020 8:30:07 pm
ima doctors strike, Ayurveda, ayurveda doctors, surgeries, ima, IMA on Ayurveda doctors, Indian Medical AssociationGuwahati: Members of Junior doctors' Association stage a protest in solidarity with Indian Medical Association's strike against Mixopathy and demanding the withdrawal of CCIM notification, at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital in Guwahati, Friday. (PTI Photo)

Members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and doctors across the country are staging protests Friday against the Centre’s move allowing postgraduate practitioners of Ayurveda to be trained in performing surgical procedures.

On November 19, a government notification listed out specific surgical procedures that a postgraduate medical student of Ayurveda must be “practically trained to acquaint with, as well as to independently perform”. The notification has invited sharp criticism from the Indian Medical Association, which questioned the competence of Ayurveda practitioners to carry out these procedures, and called the notification an attempt at “mixopathy”.

The IMA has given a call for withdrawal of non-essential and non-COVID services between 6 am and 6 pm on Friday to protest against the notification. However, emergency medical services are exempted from the purview of the agitation.

Reacting to the strike, IMA national president Dr R Sharma said: “Modern medicine is controlled and research-oriented, we are proud of the heritage and richness of Ayurveda but the two shouldn’t be mixed.”

Explained: Can surgery be a part of Ayurveda? Why is IMA objecting?

Over 30,000 doctors from Gujarat have joined the IMA strike call. “Over 30,000 of our member-doctors from Gujarat, including 9,000 from Ahmedabad, have joined the protest today,” said Dr Kamlesh Saini, secretary, IMA (Gujarat branch).

“We demand withdrawal of the CCIM Act notification and the NITI Aayog committee for integration (of all medicine systems). We urge the government to take into account the grievances of doctors against this mixopathy. The IMA will continue its agitation till our demands are met,” Saini was quoted as saying by PTI.

Doctors at AIIMS and various Delhi government-run facilities, including LNJP Hospital, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, DDU Hospital, GTB Hospital, BSA Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, and civic-run Hindu Rao Hospital, performed duties while wearing black armbands and ribbons.

The Resident Doctors’ Association of AIIMS-Delhi, in a statement, said, “This step will not only encourage already rampant quackery, but also undermine the safety of public. We request the government of India to retract this notification immediately”.

“We stand with our medical fraternity in this regard and support the strike called by Indian Medical Association,” it said.

Private hospitals, nursing homes, and diagnostic centres in Uttar Pradesh have also extended support to the strike. Emergency services and treatment of COVID-19 patients have been exempted and government doctors are not a part of the strike.

According to the Uttar Pradesh unit president of the IMA Dr Ashok Rai, there are 21,500 private hospitals, pathologies, diagnostic centres and private doctors in the state who are observing strike.

Elaborating on the reasons for observing the strike, Dr Rai told PTI that Ayush doctors have been given permission to conduct surgeries after taking a bridge course. As of now, allopathic, ayurveda, Unani and homoeopathy have their different identities and mixing them to create ‘mixopathy’ would have serious repercussions, he said.

“IMA office-bearers will hold demonstrations in all the districts of the state and hand over memorandum addressed to the prime minister through respective district magistrates demanding withdrawal of this decision,” he added.

Doctors affiliated to the IMA in Maharashtra kept the dispensaries, OPDs and clinics shut for some time on Friday in support of the organisation’s call for protest. “We are not against any particular system of medicine, but the government’s decision of mixing two systems and allowing Ayurveda practitioners to perform surgeries is highly risky. Anything could go wrong if the surgeon is not experienced,” an IMA member told PTI.

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