The IMA is protesting against the Union government’s decision to allow ayurveda students to study general surgery.

Doctors performing surgeryPTI/Representation Photo
news Doctor's Strike Friday, December 11, 2020 - 13:09

Several private hospitals in Bengaluru kept their out-patient departments (OPDs) operational on Friday in the wake of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) calling for a nation-wide strike. The IMA had called for shut down of OPDs in private hospitals practising allopathy after the Union government’s decision to allow ayurveda students to obtain general surgery training. 

On November 20 this year, the Central Council of Indian Medicine, which regulates ayurveda education, issued a notification that ayurveda graduates with postgraduate degrees can now be trained in 58 surgical procedures from modern medicine. The doctors practising allopathy have called for a strike stating that such an outcome would be a public health hazard. 

Major private hospitals including Apollo Hospital (Jayanagar), Fortis Hospital, and Motherhood Hospitals have kept their outpatient departments open. However, Jain Hospital had shut its OPD for the day, stating that the doctors supported IMA’s strike. COVID-19 private hospitals and government hospitals continued to operate their OPDs, as they are mandated to do so under the Epidemics Act. 

“We have more patients coming in today and our OPD is open. We have too many appointments and patients who can’t be turned away,” said a doctor from St John’s Hospital, which is designated as COVID-19 hospital. 

Speaking to TNM, Dr SM Prasad, Secretary of IMA Karnataka chapter said that the primary reason for the strike is to “create awareness among people” regarding the Union government’s decision to allow ayurveda students to work in general surgeon positions. 

“Ayurveda rejects antibiotics. The students studying the course do not learn anything about anesthesia or microbiology. You can’t put turmeric and neem leaves on surgical wounds. Without the proper knowledge that MBBS and MD doctors obtain, how can they be allowed to become general surgeons. This will lead to increase in quacks and will result in a community health crisis,” Dr SM Prasad said. 

He further stated that the cross-over to general surgery would “inadvertently” result in more complications in patients. “When they don’t have the knowledge about modern medicine and are allowed to operate, it will increase risks in patients who they operate on. Why should we legalise something which is detrimental to public health. We are not against Ayurveda. Let them practise but they can’t be equipped to delve into modern medicine and the two spheres are different. We are not against Ayurveda, just the crossover with allopathy,” he added. 

Dr Prasad said that the IMA would have a list of hospitals, who supported the strike only by the end of the day. “We will take this to the government to show the support we have for our cause,” he added. 

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