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AYUSH critically ill: Dilapidated dispensaries, paucity of Ayurvedic medicines, doctors making do with Ayurvedic-allopathic combo

 Mail News Service

Ghatshila, Sept 11: Big hospitals boast of ICUs (Intensive Care Units) and CCUs (Critical Care Units) for patients whose lives hang by a thread. But what happens when such hospitals themselves are suffering from multi-organ failure? Perhaps, the conditions of the government’s ambitious project of launching Ayurvedic care hospitals, AYUSH Centres pan India are gasping for breath, and the axe shaped question mark hangs over these cure centres, AYUSH joints, one can safely say that these centres are critically ill with redemption chances very bleak. Dilapidated dispensaries, paucity of Ayurvedic medicine stocks and doctors being forced to make do with untested combos of Ayurvedic and Allopathic medicines point towards CCUs and ICUs wherever they are and whatever the costs irrespective of survival chances. The irony of it all is that medics posted at AYUSH centres openly prescribe Allopathic medicines in the name of cure.

It may be mentioned that on paper, Ghatshila has two government Ayurvedic treatment centres spelt AYUSH and these are also found on the website by the same name. But on survey, it was discovered that a majority of the ‘human mass’ did not even know of the very existence of the AYUSH Centres in  Ghatshila. So much for the government’s ambitious project of taking Ayurvedic medicines to the doorstep of ailing people.

Dr Prabhat Kumar, who is posted at Chaibasa deputizes for three days a week at the Ghatshila AYUSH Kendra and before on could open his mouth wide enough to gasp out the question, the medic said that Ayurvedic medicines were not available at these centres. Imagine the care and concern for the government’s AYUSH Centre in Ghatshila that operates in a room measuring 6’x 3’ atop the Kashida Panchayat Bhawan. This Centre is bereft of seating space and the medicine rack is covered with layers of dust and a few dirt riddled Ayurvedic medicine packs that one doubts, may be empty. Moreover, this cringed space is dilapidated and the roof and walls may fall apart any day, any time. Another ‘stunning’ discovery made at the Centre was that it had a few AYUSH kits left that was supplied by the Jharkhand government during the COVID-19 phases for prevention and cure of coronavirus inflictions. The ‘stunning’ factor was that Ayurvedic physicians were continuing to prescribe medicines from these kits due to unavailability of proper medicines.

This situation persists in spite of the fact that the government has set aside crores of rupees for AYUSH project but the status of these Kendras as on date is that a handful of people know about the existence of these abstract projects (what else) and are more or less sure that they are toothless paper tigers not to be trusted for curative purposes.

The Jharkhand Director of Project AYUSH, Dr Fajlus Sami, when contacted to find out the reason behind the prevailing pathetic conditions of the Centres, informed that a tender for the supply of Ayurvedic medicines had been floated and once a supplier was selected by reviewing the bids, there would be no dearth of stock at the AYUSH Centres. Answering another question, Dr Sami said that all pending salaries and honorariums would be paid shortly.

In contrast, District AYUSH Medical Officer, Dr Alok Kumar Srivastava stated that there had been no supply of Ayurvedic medicines from the government and neither were the doctors’ honorariums paid.  

 Dr Namita Jha who too is posted at the Ghatshila AYUSH Centre said that she was dispensing her services at the Subdivisional Hospital. “My prime duty is to cater to the treatment of the ailing people and this I am doing at the Subdivisional Hospital. With no medicine available at the AYUSH Kendra, how can I treat people there? What medicines will I prescribe unless there is sufficient stock of Ayurvedic medicines?” she retorted. Dr Namita Jha added with a touch of exasperation, “I have not even been paid my salary since my appointment in the AYUSH project.”

According to a source, an AYUSH doctor was working as RMO in a private nursing home in Ghatshila Block and was prescribing allopathic medicines due to the empty medicine racks at the Ayurvedic treatment centres.

The government floated AYUSH care centres with the noble motive of promoting the powers of herbal cure that had withstood the test of centuries and continues to remain successful but, of late, the fair intents have been jolted due to the apathetic attitude of the powers that be in the realms of supply of herbal medicines and pending salaries and honorariums of doctors. “Why play spoilsport to a noble and novel move to showcase the magical healing properties of Ayurvedic science?”

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