Tuesday, 2 January 2018

INDIA: Doctors Strike Over Alternative Medicine Plan

Doctors across India went on strike
Tuesday over a controversial bill that
would allow practitioners of alternative
therapies such as homeopathy to practise
as medical doctors .
More than 300 , 000 private and public
doctors in the country of 1 .25 billion
cancelled all outpatient services , forcing
the government to delay a planned vote
on the controversial bill in parliament .
The bill proposes to reform the country ’ s
ailing healthcare system and address a
chronic shortage of doctors , particularly
in rural areas.
It would allow those qualified in areas
such as homeopathy and ayurveda — a
traditional form of Indian medicine — to
practise Western medicine after
completing a “ bridging course” of an
unspecified duration .
India has nearly 800 ,000 practitioners of
traditional medicine who undergo
rigorous training in their own fields , but
are not currently allowed to prescribe
The national president of the Indian
Medical Association said the move could
be “ disastrous ” for patients .
“ This bill is anti- patient, anti - doctor ,
irrational and unscientific, ” K . K . Agarwal
told AFP .
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has
sought to promote India ’ s traditional
therapies since his right - wing Hindu
nationalist party won power in 2014,
creating a dedicated ministry and
successfully lobbying the UN to recognise
a World Yoga Day.
India has an estimated 840 ,000 medical
doctors — one for every 1 ,674 people —
far fewer than the one per 1 ,000 people
recommended by the World Health
Doctors were reportedly planning to call
off their strike after parliamentary affairs
minister Ananth Kumar told the house
Tuesday that the bill had been referred
to a committee that would consider the
doctors ’ concerns .
Emergency and critical care services
were unaffected by the strike.

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