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Homoeopathy The Best Bet

Dr. K. Bhardwaj

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Therefore, he emphasised the need for making homoeopathy the base of community health workers scheme, appointment of homoeopaths and practitioners of indigenous system of medicine as third medical officers in primary health centres and in outdoor sections of hospitals.

Commenting on the WHO report, the Statesman observed: 'It may seem paradoxical that India cannot afford the doctors it produces when the service of many more is clearly needed by its vast population'.

The patient doctor ration in the country is 20000:1. According to the Indian Medical Association, there should be at least one doctor for a population of 5000. In the rural areas, one primary health centre has to cater for about 1.25 lac people. "To make matters worse," says Dr. P.C. Bhatia, Dean of the studies of IMI, College of General practitioners, New Delhi, "the primary health centres generally remain ill-equipped and inadequately staffed. A primary health centre's annual budget for medicines is Rs. 12,000 only. The condition of sub-centres is still worse". Each sub-centre looks after at least 20,000 people. It receives medicines worth Rs. 2000/- only in one year. The dynamics and economics of these figures if related to homoeopathy as an integral part of the mechanics of Health care Programme for rural India can only generate happy results for the government and the country.Some have only to show imagination and the will to set things in proper order.

As the WHO report has suggested medical education could be so planned that the economy was able to absorb about all its products. At present some 100 odd allopathic medical colleges take in some 15,000 students each year. And the verdict is that the medical graduates churned out are unsuited to cater to the health needs of the rural masses.

The observation could be even more telling when more than half the people of India still live below the poverty line. The picture of distress that emerges from recent studies of Indian conditions is one of appallingly low levels of income and unchecked deterioration in the staying power of the poor. Of the 306 million people who are too poor to feed themselves, 249 million are in the villages and 57 million in towns and cities. The data about per capita income are no less frightening. At the 1977-78 prices, the per capita income worked out to Rs. 65 per month in the countryside and Rs. 75/- per month in the urban area. Ezekiel forecasts that if the existing policies continue, India's entry into the 21st century will be overshadowed by constellation of roes of high population, low income, less savings, low industrialisation, slow urbanisation, heavy unemployment and massive poverty.

Let us view our goal in this context. Health care for all by 2000 AD was the goal set by our country-as a signatory to the Alma-ata declaration made by the international conference by the primary health care jointly sponsored by the WHO and UNICEF. Health care means a host of things: sanitation, hygienic living conditions, clean drinking water, hospitals, health centres, development of medical and paramedical personnel and medicines. On all these points, we are nowhere near the goal of Health for all.

Keeping in view the recommendations of WHO to create a new cadre of medical personnel whose education and training would be adequate for the country's basic needs, shall we, then not turn to the readily available and fully qualified medical men who may at best be modelled on modern themes and equipment. These are given the appellation Homoeopaths, who are the best bet in the prevailing conditions of the economy. An eminent physician of Mumbai in his masterly write-up proclaims: 'Hahnemann shares the basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology with the other systems of medicine and keeps abr**st of the developments of modern methods. It only differs from the other systems in the concept of diseases and in the administration of a small dose of a single medicine based on the principle 'Likes cure likes'. It is a recognised system of treatment and is thoroughly compatible with the best of modern science.

Those familiar with the transactions of the XXXII International Homoeopathic Medical Congress held in India in October 1977 will recall that India had this honour for the second time. The sessions of the congress highlighted the important role this system of medicine could play in India.

It was a unique opportunity when the experts in different fields discussed the gains of homoeopathy in paediatrics, heart disease, cancer and its sphere in dentistry and veterinary medicine.

A glimpse of the research carried out since the last session of the congress was also a reward, then it was unequivocally agreed upon that homoeopathy may effectively answer the need for providing cheap medical help to our vast rural masses. What better testimony and readymade solution do we need? Or a better assurance.

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