WriteUps By Amritpal Singh
Dr.Amritpal singh- PROFESSOR (DRAVYAGUNA)-SS Ayurvedic college-Bhikhi (Mansa)
Dr.Raman Sharma- READER (SWASTHAVRITTA)-SS Ayurvedic College-Bhikhi (Mansa)
The scope of AYUSH degrees have witnessed changing scenario as far as academic value is concerned. When it comes to definition of AYUSH degree, it broadly referees to Ayurveda. Ayurveda as a system of medicine is popular as compared to Siddha and Unani systems of medicines. However, popularity of Homeopathic system of medicine is at par with Ayurveda system of medicine. With non AYUSH institutions intensifying research in AYUSH, the academic value of AYUSH degree is expected to rise.
AYUSH RESEARCH IN NON-AYUSH INSTITUTIONS
Research on herbal drugs and isolated constituents used in various AYUSH systems of medicine in non-AYUSH institutions is very old. In older days, the syllabus taught in pharmacology departments of medical colleges incorporated several herbal drugs which gradually vanished when chemical based medicine dominated the herbal medicine. However due to resurgence of natural medicine medicinal herbs used in various systems of medicine are making come back in the syllabus of pharmacology and the dying importance of pharmacognosy is seeing a dramatic revival.
Non-AYUSH institutions as compared to AYUSH institutions have banked upon projects sponsored by the department of AYUSH. Projects like Ayurvedic Biology and Ayuredic Genomics have definitely played crucial role in establishing scientific temperament of Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has given nod to randomized clinical trial to study the efficacy of Panchkarma in the management of stroke and the project has been named as Restore. But all important questions are that AYUSH graduates and postgraduates have rare information on such national level projects and rare interest also. The need of the hour is to include information on national level projects related to AYUSH in the curriculum.
ROLE OF AYUSH PROFESSIONALS IN NON-AYUSH INSTITUTIONS
Institutes like NIPERs, PGI, CIMAP, and AIIMS and Indian universities are conducting research on Ayurvedic formulations and protocols for possible application in therapeutics. Majority of the non-AYUSH institutes initiate the research process by applying for grant-in-aid to the department of AYUSH as extramural research projects. Here BAMS, BUMS, BSMS, BHMS/MD-Ayurvedic Medicine, Unani Medicine, Siddha Medicine and Homeopathic Medicine degrees are an obligatory requirement for filing application for grant-in-aid for execution of the project.
Here the role and scope of AYUSH professionals is limited to be part of the project team only. Allopathic medicine utilizes the information documented in AYUSH texts for applied research and conduct research with modern scientific tools and AYUSH professionals have rare exposure to analytical techniques. CCIM/AYUSH/CCRAS must take up these issues seriously and take much-needed steps for preserving the IPR issues of the ancient systems of medicine. Allopathic bridge course for AYUSH professionals was vehemently opposed by modern medicine apex body and fraternity. AYUSH professionals again have rare knowledge about IPR and bioprospecting issues of natural drugs used in the ancient systems of medicine and this has contributed to less popularity of AYUSH as compared to modern medicine.
AYUSH Ph.D FELLOWSHIP SCHEME
AYUSH Ph.D. fellowship scheme involves two streams; AYUSH and Biomedical Sciences. Involvement of Biomedical Sciences within the loop of AYUSH PhD fellowship scheme shows the positive approach of AYUSH and CCRAS. At the same time, policymakers and stakeholders of AYUSH must ensure BAMS degree holders eligible for sitting in entrance examinations leading entry in biotechnology, nanotechnology and pharmaceutical sciences. AYUSH and CCRAS must formulate a comprehensive policy of amalgamation of AYUSH undergraduates and postgraduates in institutes of national importance. AYUSH Ph.D. fellowship must be utilized on exploring mechanism behind fundamental principles of AYUSH practice modalities.
AYUSH INSTITUTIONS AND NAAC ACCREDATION
Several AYUSH institutions across the country have been accredited with NAAC. This is a good initiative and the rest of the AYUSH institutions must upgrade infrastructure, research and development and documentation activities so as to lift the standards in AYUSH education in a uniform pattern. AYUSH must make NAAC accreditation mandatory for all AYUSH institutions and this can serve as a yard stick for controlling mushroom growth of substandard institutions. Managements of AYUSH institutions must ensure proper implementation of the recommendations of NAAC for the benefit of the faculty and students.
AYUSH HOSPITALS AND NABH ACCREDATION
Several AYUSH hospitals attached to the institutions are NABH accredited and this has sent a strong signal of changing mentality of the managements and visiting patients. Here it is worthwhile to discuss that the services of pharmacologist, pharmacognist and biostatistician are very much essential for an AYUSH institution. AYUSH professionals should also get equal opportunities so as to increase spectrum of knowledge as far as clinical research is concerned.
DUTIES OF AYUSH FACULTY
AYUSH institutions are facing acute faculty crunch these days. Lack of senior faculty is the main challenge being faced by AYUSH institutions. Employing and retaining the faculty should be the chief mandate of the managements. However, it is the duty of the faculty to provide updated information on AYUSH subjects targeting employment opportunities. Only faculty can play decisive role in shaping up academic careers of AYUSH pass outs. AYUSH research initiatives in non-AYUSH must be highlighted so that after passing out AYUSH degree the students should have information of new avenues.
RELEVANT COURSES FOR AYUSH STREAM
Courses like M.Sc Medicinal Plants and M.S. (Pharm) Traditional Medicine are of great utility in career diversification of AYUSH degree holders. These courses have direct linkage with Dravyaguna and Rasa Shastra and are of great utility for BAMS degree holders having interest in Ayurvedic pharmacy or Ayurvedic pharmaceutical sciences. These professional courses open up new channels for AYUSH pass outs in non-AYUSH institutions. AYUSH degree holders are excelling the field of public health and same approach is required in other fields of Biomedical Sciences. However, the primary need is to establish academic value of AYUSH degree so as it may have equal opportunities in comparison to non-AYUSH disciplines like Biomedical Sciences.
AYUSH ACADEMIC STANDARDS IN INDIAN UNIVERSITIES
AYUSH and non-AYUSH universities are giving affiliation to AYUSH institutions. Ayurvedic or AYUSH universities have been established to boost education and credibility of ancient medical systems. Owing to lesser number of AYUSH institutions, a few of Ayurvedic or AYUSH universities have been not been able to maintain the required academic standards. Funding issues have also contributed to downfall of academics. Guru Ravi Das Ayurvedic University, Hoshiarpur (Punjab) and Shri Krishna AYUSH University, Kurukshetra (Haryana) have not able to meet the necessary academic standards owing to shortage of funding.
Updating the knowledge in technology driven era is absolutely must. Government Ayurvedic College Patna was previously affiliated to BRA Bihar University, Muzzafarpur and now it is affiliated to Aryabhatta Knowledge University, Patna. Interestingly enough, the websites of both the universities are showing affiliation to Government Ayurvedic College Patna causing confusion in mind of NEET aspirants. Similarly, MD courses have been initiated in Dravyaguna and Rasa Shastra at Government Ayurvedic College Patiala and nothing has been updated on the website of Guru Ravi Das Ayurvedic University, Hoshiarpur (Punjab).
Funding of AYUSH related projects are doing well of the cause of non-AYUSH institutions. Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), Department of AYUSH and Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) must ensure that primary object of growth of AYUSH fraternity is achieved at all costs.