ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Mathew GeorgeSubscribe to Mathew George

AYUSH and Health Services

Maharashtra’s policies for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) professionals are discriminatory, allowing them to engage in “mixed practice” and recruiting them either as paramedics or as administrators in the general health services system, without ensuring equal status with their allopathic counterparts. It is in this context that the nature of engagement of AYUSH professionals with the state health system is examined.

How Not to Modernise Alternative Medicine Systems

The implications of the Maharashtra government's permission to homeopathic practitioners to prescribe allopathic drugs are manifold. This form of "modernisation" not only threatens the identity of the alternative systems but also hampers their most important characteristic, namely, healing, which has helped most of the medical systems to stand the test of time.

Healthcare through Community Participation

This study of the operation of the Accredited Social Health Activist programme of the National Rural Health Mission in one of the tribal blocks of Thane district in Maharashtra fi nds that incentives given to ASHAs generate a bias in their work activities and shift the attention of these community health workers from the community to the health services system. Moreover, the poor socio-economic background of ASHAs makes them depend on the incentives offered since this is their main source of income. Additionally, due to the excessive focus of ASHAs on curative care, the community considers them more an extended arm of the health service system, not as change agents as envisaged in the programme.

Lessons for Integration of Health Programmes

The experience gained by the integration of the leprosy eradication programme with the general health services has many lessons to offer in the context of the National Rural Health Mission's objective to combine the national health programmes for various diseases.
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