To make Eastern India (West Bengal and Sikkim) the new AYUSH hub, The Policy Times organized a Virtual Seminar themed Traditional Medicine for Improving Global Health & Achieving Universal Health Coverage on Wednesday, January 4, 2022.
India is becoming a healthcare hub with the hospitality industry expected to touch USD 132 billion by 2023, 80% of the total healthcare market. Despite this, India faces the dual disease burden of communicable and non-communicable (lifestyle diseases). AYUSH treatments have been trusted by millions over the globe as cost-effective treatments. Being one of the ancient medicinal systems, ayurvedic treatments focus on overall health management; both health and wellness.
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Dr. Natesh Bala, CEO of Lifeline Multispeciality Hospitals, Chennai is a firm believer of whole medicines wherein traditional medicine complements allopathy. During the seminar, Dr. Bala highlighted how he has seen people with chronic diseases getting treated with Ayurveda. “Ayurvedic centers must be established along with allopathic centers. We can combine ayurvedic and allopathic health systems, but one cannot replace the other one. The motive should only be to treat the patient in the best possible manner”, he said.
The urgent need to establish new AYUSH centers, wellness clinics, and ayurvedic colleges was also addressed in the seminar. Sikkim has been a favored destination for Ayurveda as it has the right climate and a green lobby for willing entrepreneurs. Hon’ble Speaker, Shri GP Upadhyaya, cabinet secretary, Government of Sikkim, highlighted that the only organic state in the world has good venues to establish ayurvedic ventures. Sikkim was the first to collaborate Manipal University and promote education at a new level. “We have an allopathic medical college, we are looking forward to developing the ayurvedic medical college. Both should complement each other to save lives, patient should get benefits. We would be happy to welcome, the weather is suitable, we have destinations to welcome investment in this region”, said the guest of honor.
Research & Development In Ayurvedic Systems, Medicines, & Treatments
The government of India for a long time has promoted AYUSH as a whole medicine. However, there is a lacuna in R&D. Dr. Narasimhan Jammi, CEO and Director of Jammi Pharma felt that R&D funding is available only for classical pharma, which is not the right approach. Ayurveda has the most treasured treatments for lifestyle diseases, fatty liver, and diabetes, R&D for integrated medicine can do wonders in the field.
The industry has contributed to the R&D of ayurvedic systems and the maintenance of their quality. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for ayurvedic medicine was developed by the industry and not by government, said Mr. Kanhaiya Mandal, Plant Head, IMPCL. “From the last 10 years’ sales data, especially two years of the pandemic, the pharma company has witnessed an increase in productivity. There is an immense business opportunity and the government’s support to R&D can help to realize efficiencies in this sector”, he further added.
Cross-Border Ties For Traditional Medicine
Nepal is a host to some of the most special medicinal plants like Jatamashi. There are different opportunities available in Nepal that if harnessed can help India become the new AYUSH hub in the world. “We can work on multiple aspects and I would like to communicate that. We have done MoU with ICMR, one of the components is to work on R&D in TM and ayurveda”, said Dr. Pradip Gyanwali, Nepal Health Research Council.
India is surrounded by Nepal and Bhutan and it gives an immense competitive advantage to build this hub. Ayurvedic beliefs to connect mind, body, and soul. Dr. Prithi Madhav who owns a wellness clinic believes a pristine environment can bring in added benefit to treatments. Nepal and Bhutan offer good environments, and relaxing places, closer to nature, crucial factors in designing Ayurvedic and wellness centers.
Willing Entrepreneurs Can Set Up Ayurvedic Centers & Colleges
CCIM does not permit to begin Ayurvedic college below 5-acre land. However, willing entrepreneurs can begin AYUSH NABH accredited hospitals. To begin, an ayurvedic center or wellness center can be operational in even 1 biga of land. However, it is advised to select an area where 16-acreas of land is present for future acquisition. It is possible to begin by submitting an application and begin a center or a hospital with an acre of land. Once it works for at least 2 years, willing entrepreneurs can begin to expand by registering for an Ayurvedic college. For this purpose, applicants will have to acquire 15-acres of land.
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