The Union health ministry has landed itself in an awkward position with the government’s own Central Council of Homoeopathy (CCH) and Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy(CCRH) opposing their recent proposal to offer a ‘bridge course’ to homeopaths to practice limited allopathy.
But Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) supports the proposal, it has a different expectation from the government about the bridge course. The allopathic lobby (represented by the Indian Medical Association or IMA) has already vociferously protested the proposal, and even organised an all-India strike
“We are against this proposal,” said Ramjee Singh, president of the homeopathic council. “We have our own system and we don’t let our doctors practice other medicines and other types of doctors should not be allowed to practice our stream,” he says.
“We have consistently and completely opposed any crossover between homeopathy and allopathy. Our stand now is not new. But on this specific issue of the bridge course, we reject the idea,” said R.K. Manchanda, director general of CCRH.
Homeopathic Medical Association of India wrote a letter to the parliamentary standing committee on health, protesting the bridge course
“Just because there is a shortage of doctors, that is not a reason for them to have a bridge course and for us to go to rural areas. Government should build their own infrastructure if there is a shortage. I think the government is just frightening us,” said Mathews Jo from the Indian Homeopathic Medical Association.
Indian Institute of Homoeopathic Physicians (IIHP) has opposed the proposed bridge course for Ayush doctors in National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 saying that it is a retrograde step and highly detrimental to homeopathy in a long run
Total agreement unlikely
According to the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, the bridge course can become a reality only following joint meetings and voted decisions of the National Medical Commission, the CCH and the CCIM.From the protests being registered in all quarters, this total agreement among the three bodies looks unlikely – so the bridge course may be scrapped completely by the parliament committee.
Health ministry’s expectations from clause 49
“These doctors in the allopathic lobbies themselves don’t want to go to rural areas. They strongly opposed the government’s plan to have a BSc Community Medicine course. Now they won’t allow anyone else to go to expand healthcare either? They just want to monopolise everything in urban private hospitals,” said a health ministry official.
Clause 49 says that there could be “specific educational modules or programmes” at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, and across medical systems, “to develop bridges across the various systems of medicine and promote medical pluralism”.