The Government of India and state governments from time to time are coming up with proposals to allow prescription rights for modern medicine to non-MBBS graduates. Recently, there have been proposals like BSc Community Health and the recent proposal for a bridge course in pharmacology for homeopathic doctors to allow them to practice modern medicine in Maharashtra.
Some time back there was also a notification issued by Dr Vishwas Mehta, joint secretary, Ministry of Health And Family Welfare, Govt of India, to the State Departments of Health and Family Welfare requesting them to amend the law prevailing in their state relating to the registration of practitioners of modern scientific medicine to provide an enabling provision to allow the enrolment of ISM (Indian Systems of Medicine) professionals in State Medical Register for the registration of practitioners of modern medicine as maintained by State Medical Councils.
There is, however, no point in providing a backdoor entry into modern medicine. The argument of one-year pharmacology bridge course for non-MBBS doctors is not sustainable because even though subjects may be similar sounding for MBBS and AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), the depth in which both for theory and clinicals an MBBS student is exposed to in any clinical subject is phenomenally more than the exposure of an AYUSH graduate.
My suggestions given later are based on the following facts:
1) MBBS medical colleges produce graduates who can prescribe and practice modern medicine.
2) Government wants BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery), Unani, Homeopathic medical colleges as well as District Hospitals (BSc CH) to also soon produce graduates who will prescribe and practice modern medicine.
3) Nearly all Ayush graduates practice modern medicine even without legal sanctity.
4) We have only 370 odd medical colleges producing MBBS doctors in the country whereas the number of medical colleges producing Ayush graduates is more than 6000. The reason for this mismatch is stringent requirements of the MCI (Medical Council of India) to start and run a medical college for MBBS whereas it is relatively very easy to start a college to award AYUSH degree.
5) If with an added bridge course BHMS (Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery) and other AYUSH graduates could be equated with MBBS graduates the mafia behind private medical education, which comprises mainly of politicians in most cases, would make a killing by selling these seats.
Why then have stringent norms for MBBS medical colleges as prescribed by the MCI? Why should norms not be lowered to match the Ayurvedic, Unani and Homeopathic medical colleges? Which brings us to the important question: Why do we need to produce graduates in AYUSH at all?
Let us close all ayurvedic, unani and homeopathic medical colleges; reduce the requirements of MCI for MBBS seats; start MBBS course in the same infrastructure of AYUSH colleges; and introduce AYUSH as a postgraduate discipline. This will have effect of producing basic doctors who are competent in modern medicine and postgraduates who are really interested in AYUSH, which will also stimulate research in AYUSH.
I do hope my suggestion is not taken literally but even if it is the situation would be better than what currently seems to be imminent.