NMC plans to replace Hippocratic Oath with Charak Shapath, Mixed reactions from Doctors
New Delhi: Bringing a major change in the MBBS curriculum, the National Medical Commission (NMC) is probably going to replace the centuries-old Hippocratic Oath with the Charak Shapath. The confirmation regarding this came from the Minutes of NMC discussion with all the medical colleges in India, which was reportedly chaired by Dr. Aruna V Vanikar, the President of the UG Medical...
New Delhi: Bringing a major change in the MBBS curriculum, the National Medical Commission (NMC) is probably going to replace the centuries-old Hippocratic Oath with the Charak Shapath.
The confirmation regarding this came from the Minutes of NMC discussion with all the medical colleges in India, which was reportedly chaired by Dr. Aruna V Vanikar, the President of the UG Medical Education Board of NMC.
The Minutes of the meeting dated 07.02.2022, which has spread like fire on the social media platforms, mentioned, "No Hippocratic Oath. During white coat ceremony (with parents) the oath will be "Maharshi Charak Shapath" present in NMC website."
These changes are going to be implemented from the new academic session which is going to start on February 14, 2022. Apart from the new oath, the Minutes of the meeting also mentions introducing a compulsory 10 days of Yoga.
The Hippocratic Oath is an oath of ethics taken by medical professionals across the world. Being one of the earliest expressions of medical ethics in the western world, the Hippocratic Oath requires a new doctor to swear by a number of healing gods for upholding some particular standards of ethics.
It is named after Hippocrates of Kos, a physician belonging to the Classical period having his roots in Greece. Known as the "Father of Medicine", Hippocrates was credited with greatly advancing the systematic study of clinical medicine.
On the other hand, the new "Charak Shapath" is an ode to Maharshi Charaka, who is considered to be one of the biggest predecessor of Ayurveda and who also authored the medical treatise named "Charaka Samhita".
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported while answering to the recommendations made by the 126th report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee, the National Medical Commission had announced its responses. Taking the suggestions of the Parliamentary Committee on induction/foundation course in MBBS 1st year and its redistribution, the apex medical regulator had suggested including Charak Shapath.
It was opined by NMC that Charak Shapath, Yoga, wellness, humanities, and other extracurricular activities (cycling day, no fuel day , walkathon, marathons etc) should be implemented in a structured manner in all professional years prospectively (including foundation course) , to ensure mental health and well being of students.
Now, after the NMC's Minutes of the meeting has come to be known, it has been almost confirmed that the new Charak Shapath will replace the Hippocratic Oath, which the doctors used to take during their white coat ceremony.
However, this decision of NMC in replacing the years old Hippocratic Oath with Charak Shapath has received mixed response from the medical fraternity. While questioning this move, some doctors have asked how modern medicine graduates can take oath in the name of the Father of Ayurveda, some have welcomed the move.
Criticizing the decision, one doctor has written on Twitter, "Shameful!! National medical commission has given orders to Medical Colleges in India to replace the Hippocratic oath with "Maharishi Charaka shapath". So now, Modern Medicine Doctors will be taking the oath in the name of the Father of Ayurveda."
"Indias National Medical Commission medical students MBBS training program plan Exclusion of Hippocratic Oath Inclusion of Carak Oath for modern medicine pass outs Sage Carak authored the greatest pseudoscientific treatise in the world, Ayurveda," wrote the Twitter handle of The Live Doctor, who recently faced troubles for his alleged comments on Ayurveda.
Another doctor has blamed NMC for attempting to corrupt modern medicine with AYUSH and Yoga. He wrote, "NMC replacing Hippocratic Oath with Charak Shapath is only a cover to hide the real agenda of destruction of modern medicine, by corrupting it with AYUSH & Yoga, just as predicted by us in July 2019."
"NMC engaged in such important work. Changing name from Hippocratic Oath to Charak shapath. So much more imp that cases of ethics violations, unpaid salary of faculty in pvt med colleges, MBBS interns' stipend issue, substandard med colleges etc etc etc," wrote another Twitter user.
Congress party has also questioned the move and has termed it to be an attempt to saffronise modern medicine. The Twitter handle of Congress Kerala wrote, "The National Medical Commission's proposal to replace the '#HippocraticOath' taken by medical students with 'Charak Shapath' is an attempt to saffronise medical education as per the wishes of #RSS. Hippocratic Oath that captures the universal ethics and values can't be changed."
While expressing his opinion regarding the matter, Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor wrote, "Many doctors are expressing concern. I am all in favour of introducing Indian elements into Indian education, but not at the expense of universal values and standards. Why can't the Charaka Shapath supplement, rather than supplant, the HippocraticOath that doctors worldwide take?"
On the other hand, welcoming the move, another doctor wrote, "National Medical Council replaced Hippocratic oath for doctors with Maharishi Charak Sapth. A welcomed move."
Appreciating NMC for this step, National Medicos Organization wrote on Twitter, "Acharya Maharishi Charak was an ancient Indian physician. He is counted among the original originators of Indian medicine, Maharishi Charak. @NMC_IND Thanks to NMC for adopting the vision of NMO by replacing the oath of Greek Hippocrates by Maharishi Charaka. #ThankyouNMC."
Meanwhile, sharing his opinion regarding the matter, Dr. Rohan Krishnan, the president of FAIMA Doctors Association told Medical Dialogues, "It isn't doing any good to students. There are many other issues that seek the attention of the NMC. Also, we must keep medical education at par with international guidelines and curriculum so that Indian Doctors are been respected and given jobs globally. If we put too much "desi" in modern medicine it is not going to help anyone. We should accept and respect the MBBS curriculum with standard guidelines and it should not be changed much."
NMC members, on the other hand, have expressed their opinions in favor of Charak Shapath and a council member, unwilling to be identified told the Times of India, "Modern medicine has a history of not more than 200 years. Why should we continue to make doctors take oath in the name of a Greek physician when India has a rich past in medicine? This has been discussed at several of our meetings. It should be a matter of pride to take oath in the name of Maharshi Charaka."
Meanwhile, adding that no notification has been received in this regard so far, Indian Medical Association honorary secretary Dr Jayesh Lele told the daily, "If the oath is binding on the doctors on ethics and basic principles of the medicine are maintained, then it is fine. As long as doctors are doing ethical practice, we should accept it. Let us accept the changing times."
Mentioning if there is any truth on the social media post, Cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty said that he endorsed the move. "We should be proud of our ancestry. We have had a tradition of healing for thousands of years. We inherited medical education from the British and we have hardly made any changes since. It's good we will take oath from now in our ancestor's name rather than in a foreigner's name," he said.