Importance of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) & Challenges faced in incorporating AYUSH

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QuestionBriefly discuss the importance of National AYUSH Mission (NAM). Describe the challenges faced in incorporating AYUSH into the existing health care system and suggest the way forward to meet these challenges. – 4 December 2021

Answer AYUSH refers to Indian System of Medicine of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. It has been created by the government to provide cost effective quality AYUSH services in Primary Health Centers, Community Health Centers and District Hospitals. Along with this, “National AYUSH Mission” has been started with the objective of solving the problem of manpower shortage in the Indian health care system.

Significance

  • Ensuring Universal Access to AYUSH: By providing AYUSH facilities at PHCS, CHCs and DHS to increase coverage.
  • Strengthening of Institutional Capacity at State Level: By upgrading AYUSH Educational Institutions, State Government AYUSH Pharmacies, Drug Testing Laboratories etc.
  • Ensuring continuous supply of quality raw material by promoting cultivation of medicinal plants through better farming practices.
  • Promotion of quality standards: Certification mechanism and adoption of high grade standards for AYUSH drugs.

Challenges

  • Specific approach to each system of medicine: For example, the Allopathic system deals with the diagnosis of diseases based on biomedical models, whereas the Ayurveda system is mainly based on a holistic approach to deal with the disease.
  • Challenges related to cross referral of patients to different systems of medicine and transfusion between different systems: Some diseases are treated better by Ayurvedic medicines, while allopathic treatment is better for other diseases.
  • No Scientifically Proven Benefits: Most of the AYUSH drugs are yet to be confirmed for their purported healing properties.
  • Lack of global acceptance: Global regulatory standards have not properly approved these traditional systems. Therefore, the inclusion of AYUSH in the existing health care system could lead to an increase in their theft and misuse.
  • Availability of quality products is fragmented and not transparent: More than 85% of medicinal plants are collected from forests.
  • Lack of effective implementation of legal provisions in practice.

Way ahead:

  • To address issues related to the efficacy and safety of AYUSH systems through scientific research, publication and development of best practices.
  • Promote digitization so that traditional knowledge of Ayurveda can be protected from theft and misuse.
  • Incentives by States for cultivation of medicinal plants under ideal conditions to ensure quality and availability.
  • Certification system for traditional health colleges to improve the teaching and training standards of future physicians.
  • Clinical trials of AYUSH drugs, formulations and therapies to achieve global acceptance for AYUSH practices.

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