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Health Minister to revise medical curriculum
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 20
The Union Health Minister, Mr Anbumani Ramadoss, wants to revise within two years``an outdated medical curriculum’’ to ensure the inclusion of the Indian system of medicine in the 242 medical colleges in the country.

Speaking at the third national symposium, organised by the Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers Association (ADMA) here today,the Health Minister said that it is also proposed to strengthen the component of modern medicine in the curriculum for students of Indian system of medicine. The number of such colleges in India is 256.

Once the curriculum is revised, the students of modern medicine will “compulsorily study the Indian system of medicine and vice-versa.’’

Elaborating on his plans of revising the medical curriculum, Mr Ranmadoss said, “It is a huge process. The Consultation process on the new curriculum, involving various ministries, would begin in a few weeks. There have been some questions for sometime about integrating the modern system of medicine with tradition or the Indian system of medicine. This has been done in some of the developed countries.’’

The Health Minister says he envisions a “progressive and futuristic India’’ where doctors gain from the wisdom of the modern medicine as well as the traditional medicine.

Mr Ramadoss said that he is engaged in a dialogue with the Agriculture minister and the Commerce Minister to set up medicinal plant processing zones that offer knowledge, seeds to the farmers and guarantee hundred per cent buy back procedure.

Mr Ramadoss also suggested that tobacco growers consider cultivation of medicinal plants. ``That is one way of reducing tobacco load and promoting medicinal plants. Forty per cent of health issues are due to tobacco and Rs 35,000 crore are spent on treatment of tobacco related diseases.’’

Announcing several initiatives to give a boost to the health sector, Mr Ramadoss referred to India’s emergence as a medical tourism destination. He said that his ministry, in consultation with the Ministry of Tourism, plans to accredit 50 hospitals of the modern medicine and 25 hospitals of the Indian system of medicine, for the benefit of foreigners who seek treatment here.

He said that his ministry is promoting a Rs 120 crore golden triangle project to scientifically validate claims and treatment procedures of the Indian system of medicine. The Department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoepathy) is collaborating with the Indian Council of medical Research (ICMR) and the Central Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) on this project. On these lines, four laboratories of the Indian System of Medicine would be set in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai. The industry can makeuse of these laboratories.

He said that the Director General of CSIR, Dr R.A. Mashelkar, will head the task force on the National Drug Authority. The task force will look into different aspects of drug quality in the Indian system of medicine.

He said that the Budget of the Department of Ayush has doubled in the last one year from Rs 190 crore to Rs 350 crore and Rs 24 crore to Rs 52 crore for the National Medicinal Plant Board.``I want Rs 500 crore for the Board to meet challenges from some neighbouring countries as China, that have an advantage of packaging. Twenty five per cent of medicines in America are plant based and it is growing.’’


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