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The National Medical Commission (NMC) has made it compulsory for all medical colleges to have a 'Department of Integrative Medicine Research'. The decision has been taken in an attempt to integrate modern medicine (called allopathy) with other medical schools that come under AYUSH.
The decision came after the first joint meeting of the National Medical Commission (NMC) with representatives of the National Commission for Homeopathy (NCH) and the National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine (NCISM). A Kannur- based ophthalmologist Dr K.V Babu obtained the information on the meeting after filing an RTI inquiry.
As per the reports, discussions in the meeting were held on finding the best scientific methods of integrating all the schools of medicine to promote the development of all three sectors, help people receive integrated treatment, and to make medical students gain awareness and respect for other schools of medicine.
Among the possible changes, few are expected to affect the MBBS curriculum such as integrating Yoga as an essential practice for all students. Also, there is a possibility that MBBS students could pursue a week-long course in AYUSH systems of medicine.
In 2020, the government enacted the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Act, 2020 and the National Commission for Homoeopathy Act, 2020 which allowed the medical practitioners of other medical schools like Ayurveda, Homeopathy to hold office in the capacity of a surgeon and practice modern medicine. They have been allowed to perform 39 general surgery procedures and 19 other procedures such as excisions of benign tumours, nasal, cataract surgeries and other procedures after they complete their post-graduation in the field. The provisions have been introduced by the government that aims to inaugurate an integrated system of medicine in India to be fully in function by 2030.
Recently, the Supreme Court has sought a response from the central government on a PIL challenging the laws that allow AYUSH practitioners to prescribe allopathic medicines and conduct surgeries. The PIL has alleged that the decision can endanger the lives of the public if not thought out carefully. The petitioners have argued that the decision would allow non-scientific, unproven methods of medicine to be applied to the public at large. The petitioners have however acknowledged the intent behind the decision to overcome the shortage of doctors by merging the alternative schools of medicine but they have admittedly called it a shortcut. Also, there have been concerns like the new laws would allow the practitioners of alternative medicines to use prefixes like 'Dr.' and 'surgeon' which might confuse people, especially in low awareness areas.
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