Why India Moving Slow Towards the Integrative Healthcare Approach?
| Dr. Ruchika Jha - A Public Healthcare Consultant - 29 Nov 2019

By Dr. Ruchika Jha

New Delhi, Nov 29, 2019: There seems to be a worldwide changing focus on Integrative Healthcare. India too is slowly seen to be adopting the concept of Integrative Healthcare. The science of Ayurveda and the other Alternative Health systems seems to be crucial for such transformational change.

In the modern technological era, we notice a rise in lifestyle disorders, chronic diseases, and antibiotics resistance. The recent health system research and survey shows that there is an inclination of patients towards Ayurveda and Alternative systems of medicines (AYUSH- Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy , Unani and Siddha , Sowa Rigpa and Homeopathy) for Chronic and Lifestyle Health conditions like Psoriasis, Leukoderma, Eczema,Atopic Dermatitis, Rheumatic Arthritis, Gout, Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension and Menstrual disorders like PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disorders) etc.

And in case of emergency and Acute Health conditions, patients prefer Allopathic over Alternative systems of Medicines. Allopathic treatment is a better choice in emergency and Acute medical conditions.

Cost of medicine, cost of treatment of ailments, health insurance, research, evidence, funds availability, awareness amongst the people, political facilitators and barriers, media influence and educated patients play an important role in this health system transformation.

AYUSH and allopathic health system have a different strategy to deal with the disease and disorders. The underlying aim behind every health system treatment is to either benefit the patient by subsiding their current health ailments or curing their diseases or disorders.

The National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 has strongly advocated mainstreaming of AYUSH within the health systems for integrating healthcare. The NHP 2017 largely emphasises the need for integrating AYUSH in the National Health Mission (NHM), education and research. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare proposed the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 which is the most powerful policy expression of integrative healthcare after independence.

The amalgamation of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) and allopathic can play an important role in achieving the vision of Prime Minister of ‘New India’ by creating ‘Healthy India’.

The National Health Policy 2017 proposes mainstreaming of AYUSH in three dimensions as integration with the other health systems for effective treatment, producing scientific evidence for the safety and efficacy of AYUSH medicines and practices, and capacity building of the component professionals through good quality of education and training. There is a need for AYUSH stakeholders to map and develop a strategy for the effective implementation of NHP 2017.

Integrating AYUSH and the Allopathic System of medicine would utilise the best of both the systems and create a healthy society. By integrating it would certainly be more effective than either system practiced alone as well as less expensive and less toxic. Another form of integration would be by integrating primary care with secondary and tertiary care. Therefore, Health systems Integration in India at all levels is essential for India to move closer to Universal Healthcare Coverage goals.

Representational Image credit – Global Spa / India Hub / amazing Holidays In India 

(Author Dr. Ruchika Jha is a dynamic independent Public Healthcare Consultant at ACCESS Health International, N Delhi; Has independently handled multiple WHO projects on Health System Strengthening, Integrated Healthcare, Healthcare finance, Digital Health and Health Policy; A Medical Graduate from Mumbai with specialization in Ayurvedic science, have pursued Public Healthcare Management from IIPH-Delhi with specialization in Healthcare Financing and Policy; A recipient of Dr. PG Tulpule Scholarship;)

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