Jorhat, Aug. 19/2011: The Assam government has given a special thrust to popularise alternative medicine and treatment and pushed for prescribing AYUSH (ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy) medicines in government hospitals.
In a directive to all the district joint directors of health services recently, the mission director of the state unit of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), J.B. Ekka, asked them to ensure that AYUSH medicines were prescribed by doctors.
Allopathic and AYUSH drugs supplied under the mission are supplied free of cost to patients in government hospitals, dispensaries and public health centres.
The letter said mainstreaming of AYUSH was one of the main components of the rural health mission.
The national mission had appointed 267 ayurvedic and 50 homoeopathic doctors recently, apart from the doctors recruited by the state government, to provide medical services under AYUSH.
While reviewing the utilisation of AYUSH drugs across the state, it was found that the patients were not being prescribed such medicines.
The directive said AYUSH doctors from different parts of the state had earlier complained that they had not been able to practice what they had studied because of the non-availability of medicines where they were posted.
However, since 2009-2010, AYUSH medicines and required medical kits were supplied to hospitals, dispensaries and PHCs where the doctors were posted.
The mission director asked the joint directors of health services in the districts to take up the matter with the doctors. The letter said if AYUSH drugs were not prescribed, the mission might stop supplying the medicines in future.
Following the NRHM directive, the state programme officer for AYUSH, who is also the deputy director of health services, H.H. Islam, last month had asked the districts to furnish details of utilisation and current stock position of ayurvedic and homoeopathic drugs.
Islam also asked for information on the requirement of the drugs.
Joint director health services (Jorhat), Mintu Gogoi, said following the directive, he had reviewed the matter with the doctors posted in the hospitals, dispensaries and PHCs.
Gogoi said there was sufficient stock of AYUSH medicines in the district.
The NRHM move comes after the state government issued a notification regarding the setting up of a separate directorate for AYUSH under the health department earlier this year.
The directorate was being set up to accord special attention to medical education, planning, training and research for the branches of medicine falling under AYUSH.
All the three government homoeopathy colleges and hospitals and the only government ayurveda college in the state will come under the administrative control of the new directorate. The homeopathy colleges and hospitals are in Jorhat, Nagaon and Guwahati, while the ayurvedic one is in Guwahati.
There will be a separate wing of AYUSH in all the civil hospitals of the districts and subdivisions, upto the sub-centre level.
The directorate will promote indigenous, traditional and community medicine research in the state and co-ordinate with various councils of alternative medicines under the AYUSH sector.