Preparations are on by the Kerala state government to form a Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) Department, mirroring the Central model, under the comprehensive health policy.
Absence of an independent AYUSH department has been costing the state Central funds amounting to lakhs of rupees and opportunities in Ayurveda and other health care sectors.
The department of AYUSH was constituted under the Central Health Department in November 2003, replacing the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy(ISMH).
The national policy of the Union Ministry in 2002 had announced the relevance of AYUSH to promote good health and expand the outreach of health care to people who are not provided health cover. “The AYUSH should facilitate availability of raw drugs which are authentic and contain essential components as required under pharmacopoeia standards to help improve quality of drugs, for domestic consumption and export. Encouragement to set up general and specialised treatment centres of AYUSH should be provided in all allopathic hospitals so as to provide general and specialised therapies of Indian systems of medicine,” the policy says.
Some states, including Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, had formed the department at the state-level. The Central AYUSH Department has been allotting funds for research and development of state-level AYUSH. More than `10,000 crore has been proposed in the 12th five-year plan for the National Ayurvedic Research Institute for Vector Borne Diseases at Vijayawada.
Unfortunately Kerala, the major hot-spot for Ayurvedic treatments, has been lagging in the formation of the AYUSH Department. The Kerala State Government Ayurveda Medical Officers’ Association (KSGAMOA) had submitted a memorandum regarding the matter to the Chief Minister and Health Minister two months ago.