Ayurveda from the perspective of a health care system.
Across the world, the Traditional Medicine (TM) is either mainstay of health care delivery or serves as a complement to it. The WHO has developed WHO Traditional Medicine (TM) Strategy 2014-2023, for harnessing the potential contribution of T & CM to health, wellness and people-centered health care and for promoting the safe and effective use of T & CM by regulating, researching and integrating T & CM products, practitioners and practice into health systems. The strategy health and patient autonomy. Their strategy put forward by WHO Traditional Medicine (MT) strategy 2014-2023 include;
- Building Knowledge base and formulating national policies.
- Strengthening safety, quality and effectiveness through regulation and
- Promoting universal health coverage by integrating T&CM service and self-health care into national health systems.
European Union (EU) has also conducted a research network for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), called CAMbrella with 16 partner institutions from 12 European countries to understand and to develop a roadmap that will enable meaningful, reliable comparative research and communication within Europe and create a sustainable structure and policy. It found that one out of two European citizens use complementary and alternative medicine, and if CAM is to be employed as part of the solution to the health care challengers, it is vital to obtain reliable information on its cost, safety, and effectiveness in real world settings. The study found that Ayurveda medicine is directly mentioned in regulations in 5 out of 39 countries. In the other 34 countries Ayurveda medicine is recognized as a therapeutic system that may be provided by regulated health personnel (often doctors), but not directly mentioned in the regulations.
Rationale for Kerala Ayurveda Promotion Society.
“Kerala Ayurveda” is to be a super brand along with “Kerala Tourism”. Today it has become a synonym of Wellness Tourism, due to the international exposure that it got through Kerala Tourism, though Ayurveda practitioners are of the view that Ayurveda has strength more in its “curative” and “preventive” aspects of treatments than its “wellness” aspects and has to be supported liberally to ‘develop, practice and propagate’ as a true alternate medicine for many of the ailments that we have today. However, international agencies like World Health Organizations (WHO), the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR), CAMbrella, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of USA…etc. demand more “evidence-based documents” for the support of the claim that Ayurveda can make for the cure of these diseases, without insisting on clinical trials and other stringent documentation procedures. The fact of the matter is that there is hardly any effort from the part of the Ayurveda industry across the country to come out with such “evidence-based documents”. To make the matter worse, the industry lacks standardization in practices and preparation of medicine, even for the preparation of classical formulations. Strong, practical, systematic and continuous interventions for a fairly long period, say 5-10 years, are needed to make visible changes in the way they practice this ancient’s system of medicine.
Decisive intervention by the Government has proven to be very effective in sunrise areas of industry; and Kerala has experienced it in sectors such as Information Technology and Tourism. A potential area of growth for the sector is Ayurveda, the untapped reservoir of opportunities for growth.
In information technology, the Government created infrastructure and the industry picked it up. In tourism, the Government launched an aggressive marketing programme, which resulted in dramatic turnaround.
Kerala Ayurveda is known all over the world as an authentic stream of alternative medicine. However, the industry suffers from a slew of issues viz, Regulatory Issues, Lack of Standardization in treatments and medicines, Branding & Segmentation, Consumer awareness and acceptance, Knowledge Sharing, Global R & D, International Collaboration. It’s time that the Government replicated its earlier models of successful interventions in Kerala Ayurveda to leverage on its brand image.
The proposal is to form a society with the stake holders in the name and style “Ayurveda Promotion Society” to forge a common platform for the long-term sustainability and growth of Ayurveda, in association and help with Government of Kerala, Health/ Ayush, Tourism ,Industries and Education Ministries.