AYUSH may soon be part of mainstream health system

The Centre is drafting a national policy for AYUSH and one of the key proposals will be to include ayurveda, unani, siddha and homeopathy under the universal health insurance scheme which will enable integrating traditional systems of medicine into the public health system. Besides, it will also focus on the need for creation of infrastructure, research facilities and regulation to streamline AYUSH, an official source said. The final draft policy is likely to be circulated among ministries and states by June before it makes its way to the Cabinet, a senior official told TOI. He added, the AYUSH ministry is targeting to launch the final policy latest by October.

"We are working on the draft policy. We have already circulated a note seeking suggestions from other stakeholders," the official said. The proposed policy assumes significance because of the renewed and focused thrust from the top level in the government towards development of the AYUSH system as well as its integration in the healthcare delivery mechanism of the country , the official said. "This has been emphasized by the PM on several occasions," the official said.

By bringing a national policy, the government also plans to promote India as a preferred AYUSH destination on the global map and harness the potential of the traditional system of medicine for improving primary and preventive health care.

The proposed policy will also set specific targets to be achieved within deadlines, bring regulation for education and research, as well as set standards for AYUSH medicines and treatment.

The policy aims at establishing AYUSH systems of medicine as the preferred choice of treatment in primary health care. At the same time, it will also provide for filling in the existing gap between demand and supply of doctors, mainly in rural areas, by training AYUSH practitioners to handle primary healthcare needs.

India to tie up with WHO for research

Taking traditional medicines to the international stage, India is expected to collaborate with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United States for research and development of ayurveda, unani, siddha and homeopathy. The UN agency have evinced keen interest in Ayush medicines and is slated to sign an agreement to this effect in Geneva soon, Ayush minister Shripad Naik informed Rajya Sabha.

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