Setback to BAMS, BHMS, BUMS: AYUSH practitioners barred from using Dr prefix in JnK, monthly incentive halted
The MLHPs working in the block have been barred to use the prefix Dr with their names in the official correspondence, citing that they have joined against the vacant/sanctioned post of MLHP, and not against the posts of a medical officer. The communication even read that, "Strict action should be taken for non-compliance against the defaulters."
Jammu: Despite the decision pronounced in the parliament that all BAMS, BHMS, BUMS, BSMS, BYNS practitioners can use the Prefix 'Dr'; fresh directions by the Directorate of Health Services Jammu (DHSJ) has barred the AYUSH practitioners engaged as Mid Level Health Providers (MLHPs) for the same.
Further, the directorate has also sought the Chief Medical Officers (CMO) of the division to halt the monthly incentives of the MLHPs salary.
In December 2018, during a Lok Sabha session, Anupriya Patel answered that people holding a recognised degree in Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS), Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS), Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery (BSMS), Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Science (BNYS), and Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) add the prefix 'Dr' to their names.
She had further added that this decision came after the central government under the Directorship of ICMR had constituted a committee to provide recommendations on the effects/benefits of various systems of medicines in the country. The association had issued a recommendation that says that the prefix 'Dr' can only be used by a practitioner of those systems of medicines that are recognized by the central government. The recommendation had been accepted by the government, which has already issued an order in this regard on November 25, 2003.
On May 28, communication between the DHSJ and the CMOs of all 10 districts of the division directed that "prefix Dr may be addressed for all mid-level health providers in your future correspondence. You are also directed to ensure that monthly work done is also paid to the MLHPs in addition to their monthly remuneration".
However, in the month of June, a separate order was issued by the DHSJ to the CMOs that read, "directions issued by this office (permitting the use of prefix Dr) are withdrawn for all intents and purposes. Further, you are also directed not to release monthly work down incentive of MLHPs in addition to their monthly remuneration as both the issues raised by (them) need to be addressed by the Mission Director National Health Mission J&K who is the appropriate authority to take a call on the matter".
Subsequently, on June 20, a separate notification was issued by the Block Medical Officer(BMO) that barred the MLHPs working in the block to use the prefix Dr with their names in the official correspondence, citing that they have joined against the vacant/sanctioned post of MLHP, and not against the posts of a medical officer. The communication even read that, "Strict action should be taken for non-compliance against the defaulters."
The decision did not go down well and triggered outrage from the doctors who called it 'discrimination' being meted out to Ayush doctors. International Media and Rights activist, Dr Varun Suthra Jammu told Greater Kashmir, "I demand strict action against the officials who have issued such humiliating orders." He further added that there have been certain instances across J&K, where prefix "Dr" has been omitted from daily registers of Ayush doctors.
"In every medical college including GMC Jammu, one can find his picture with text describing him as 'father of surgery.' His text Sushruta Samhita written some five thousand years ago is still considered as the most scientific and advanced text of surgery. He is an Ayurveda Guru. If Ayurveda doctors are asked to remove the prefix 'Dr' then every modern surgeon can't also use the prefix," Dr Suthra further added.
Commenting on the issue, Deputy Director DHSJ, Dr Seema Gupta told the daily that the matter pertained to NHM which is the recruiting agency.
"They have to take this decision. We have taken up the matter with the NHM and it is the MD (Managing Director) NHM who has to take a call," told Dr Gupta.