Use AYUSH doctors as COVID Warriors: Parliamentary Panel on Health
New Delhi: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare recently called for the utilization of Ayush doctors as Covid-19 warriors in its 123rd report on the 'Outbreak of Pandemic Covid-19 And its Management.'
The Committee, whose report was recently submitted to the parliament was chaired by Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav and consisted of 48 members from Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and The Secretariat. It has been specified that the purpose of the report is to identify the implementation gaps during the course of executing its contingent plan to contain the pandemic.
It has been stipulated in the report that more than 2 lakhs AYUSH persons have been trained and among them, only 39,555 persons have been deployed by the States or Union Territories (UT). For increasing the deployment of trained AYUSH manpower, SOPs have been prepared and shared with Empowered Group-4 constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs for augmenting human resources and capacity building, and the same is under consideration of Group-4 members.
"The Committee has been also given to understand that the Ministry of AYUSH has coordinated with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for utilization of AYUSH manpower as COVID warrior for the management of COVID-19 with identified roles," the report by the parliamentary panel mentioned. It further noted
"The Committee appreciates the contribution of AYUSH doctors in combating COVID since the outbreak of the pandemic. The Committee believes that with the virus now spreading beyond metros and big cities and to rural and remote areas where an allopathic doctor is not always available or COVID centers/ hospitals with a shortage of doctors, AYUSH doctors can be the first line of defense in those areas. The Committee is aware that AYUSH doctors have been filling up the gaps where there is a scarcity of health human resources. The Committee feels that the basic training of the AYUSH doctors in the modern scientific systems would go a long way in the management of COVID-19 especially in rural areas and would reduce the burden of the allopathic doctors in the management of COVID-19 virus, " the report added.
It further stated that,
"The Committee notes that out of 2 lakh trained AYUSH doctors, only 39,555 have been deployed by States/UTs. The SOPs for the deployment of trained AYUSH manpower has been prepared and the same is under consideration. The Committee recommends the Ministry to expedite the deployment of remaining trained Ayush doctors in the light of the increasing number of COVID patients with each passing day. The Committee also recommends the Government to train more and more AYUSH doctors to overcome the shortage of doctors and to achieve the goal of universal health coverage."
The observations came along with the submissions of the Ministry to the committee that initially, permission to Research Councils and National Institutes under the Ministry of AYUSH in some of the States/UTs Governments for clinical and population-based research studies undertaken by them with AYUSH intervention on Covid-19 was delayed due to lack of clarity in policies and guidelines for undertaking such research. However, the issue was resolved in most of the States/UTs after the Ministry issued a Gazette notification dated 21.04.2020 with appropriate guidelines.
The panel deprecated the delay in permission to Research Councils and National Institutes under the Ministry of AYUSH in some of the States/UTs Governments for clinical and population-based research studies due to lack of clarity of policies and guidelines. "This shows the apathy of the Government in formulating guidelines with regard to research activities under the AYUSH system," it explains.
However, the Committee, at the same time, recommended that AYUSH Research Councils and the National Institutes must undertake such research projects that would help in the management of pandemic COVID-19 and extend protection to common masses against life-threatening diseases.