Submission to Community Services & health Industry Skills Council: Public Consultation
DR. KUMAR CRS
BAMS (Gold Medallist), MPH, MHP, Dip in Yoga
Professional member AAA & CMA
Associate member PHAA
Jeeva Health Pty Ltd
Suite 412, level 4, 480 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Almost more than 5000 years history in the practice of medicine, since then a wide range of medical systems in the world, mainly in India, China, Greek and Egypt are practicing traditional medicine. Ancient traditional medicine derived from Atharvana Veda period (1500 BC), updated through Buddhist centuries, Ayurvedic Medicine flourished as a fist kind of reason based, statistical approach to disease when Charaka scripted Charaka Samhita during the first century. Since then the concepts of Ayurveda have become universal and eternal. The process of modern research on Ayurvedic Herbs stared during the 21st century by Sir RN Chopra with taxonomical based pharmaceutical research (Patwardhan et al 2009).
Ayurvedic medicine in India and its subcontinents
As a fact, India have got more than half a million registered Ayurveda and other natural health modalities, most of them widely practice Ayurvedic medicine, which provides the back bone of a preventive health care system in India. Moreover, the practice ayurvedic medicine has significant impact in reducing the overall health care burden on government. Currently, more than 20,000 graduates are coming out each year from Ayurvedic medical colleges around India to meet the increased demand (Valiathan & Urmila 2010).
Recently Indian government made Ayurveda as a main stream in the health care system, which is a drastic change for the system and people looking for alternative methods for their healthcare. In Ayurveda, most popular Panchkarma is being widely practiced in most of the ayurvedic hospitals and Ayurvedic institutions around India, is often flooded with patients, and regularly reporting the waiting list for the patients is being increasing with a patient list from India and other foreign countries. (Valianthan & Urmila 2010)
In Australia, according to news report that was published on March 2014 on ABC, indicated there is a huge increase in the popularity and practice of Ayurveda in The West. During the ABC survey a client from London mentioned that “There are no side effects and it’s very good, very good for your body. Best thing to use Ayurveda treatment than English medicine. Look – now I am fit and getting day by day younger,” she laughs. (ABC NEWS 2014)
Ayurvedic Education system in India
Ayurveda is being taught at the university level, at present there are 240 -320 colleges that offer university level education BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) in India. Central Council of Indian medicine (CCIM) governs the entire programs conducted at university level about their quality, clinical skills and outcome. (Patwardhan. K, et al 2011)
CCIM controls the entire curriculum and implementation of Ayurvedic education across all levels in India, which has its own central governing body headed by an independent central minister. The department undertakes the responsibility of governing 340 colleges 2420 hospitals with a capacity of 42271 beds, 15017 public dispensaries, 429246 ayurvedic registered medical practitioners, more than 320 educational organisations, and 7699 Ayurvedic pharmacies ensure the promotions of Ayurveda into direct health care service in the country. Indian Pharmacopeia is an official document which contains the information of 540 monographs of Ayurvedic single herbs and 152 monographs of classical / composite ayurvedic formulations (Mukharjee PK et al 2012)
Way of Ayurvedic Education in Australia
Currently, Ayurvedic education in Australia is still in VET level. The courses that are available in Australia across the VET sector are only Certificate IV in life style education in Ayurveda and Advanced diploma in Ayurveda. Usually take 1.5 to 2 years for certificate IV and 2 to 3 years for advanced diploma to complete (Training.gov.au).
In order to complete the BAMS degree in India takes almost 5.5 to 6 years to complete with compulsory rotatory internship both in Ayurvedic and modern hospitals across all branches of Ayurveda and biomedical science subjects. (Patwardhan K et al 2011).
Education for Ayurveda in Australia is facing a lot of challenges. Those are not just limited to course development, unit design include core and elective units. Moreover, there is a significant setback in the clinical ability to diagnose and treat for the students who comes out of their course, as in Australia most of the natural health courses not integrated with western medical systems.
A simple scenario, in order to learn usually ayurvedic diagnostic skills takes more than two to three years with face to face education system. In the current situation the unit code HLTAYV007 Diagnose conditions within an Ayurvedic framework takes less than six months to complete.
Means student completed this unit can able to diagnose the wide range of conditions that are explained in Ayurveda within 6 months. The question is whether the student got the enough skills to diagnose the condition? With this kind of inadequate skills training in the hands there is a possibility that they can do harm to the community than good. Moreover, Ayurveda gets the liability for the inadequate training for the adverse reactions.
Finally, it is our responsibility to ensure the quality ayurvedic practitioners with a quality education, so that the health outcome of the customer or patient who ever seeks for ayurvedic help can be secure and safe in Australia. We need to compare with place of Chinese medicine, chiropractic, podiatry, osteopathy and naturopathy in Australia. Ayurveda is much older than most of the systems of practice in today’s modern world, with proven effectiveness and a strong evidence base.
As mentioned earlier, not just Indians, people from all over the world looking for Ayurveda for some chronic diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, paraplegia, fistula in anoand other autoimmune disease, where the conventional system is of no use, Ayurveda has proven to be effective.
As a traditional medical system, WHO (world Health organisation) established a benchmarks for the training in Ayurveda as a global standard, which we need to follow to ensure the quality Ayurveda can be practiced and taught in Australia.
- Patwardhan B, Mashelkar RA.Traditional medicine-inspired approaches to drug discovery: can Ayurveda show the way forward? Drug discovery today 2009;14(15-16):804-11
- Valiathan M.S and Urmila Thatte 2010: International Journal of Ayurveda Research | January-March 2010 | Vol 1 | Issue 1
- ABC news report from:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-03/an-india-ayurveda-popularity-murali-krishnan/5234090
- Patwardhan K, Sangeeta G, Girish S aand Rathose H.C.S The Ayurveda Education in India: How Well Are the Graduates Exposed to Basic Clinical Skills? Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011; 2011: 197391
- Mukherjee PK, Nema NK, Venkatesh P, Debnath PK. Changing scenario for promotion and development of Ayurveda–way forward.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Sep 28;143(2):424-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.07.036. Epub 2012 Aug 2.