By-Prof. Chaturbhuja Nayak :The different AYUSH systems have their particular strengths as far as the treatment is concerned. The Department of AYUSH has launched National Campaigns so as to focus on the strengths of the different AYUSH systems relating to particular areas of concern. Homoeopathy has been chosen for Mother and Child Care.
Even though there has been tremendous improvement in the health indices relating to women and children after independence, a great deal remains to be done if we are to achieve the levels already attained in the developed countries. Mother and child health is also a focus area in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). The task of improving the health status of women and children is so enormous that unless combined efforts of Central and State Governments, NGOs and all sections of civil society are made significant improvement in the situation can not be achieved.
Homoeopathy for Mother and Child Care
Homoeopathy is the second most widely practiced system of treatment after allopathy. The public acceptance of this system is growing very fast. Due to the increased demand for this therapy, the development of Homoeopathy in the recent past has been impressive across in the country. Homoeopathy has a very definite role to play in the health care delivery system in the country because it is effective, safe and affordable and the interventions are also simple to administer. The fact that homoeopathic treatment is cost effective is another plus point. The ever-increasing cost of conventional health care has had the unfortunate effect of reducing the ability of the poor to access quality health care. This is where Homoeopathy treatment has an advantage.
Whilst specifically talking about Homoeopathy in mother and child care, it can be emphasized that homoeopathic medicines can be safely used in sensitive conditions like pregnancy, lactation, infancy and early childhood, without the possibility of adverse events.
At the start of Campaign, a National Workshop on “Homoeopathy for Healthy Mother and Happy Child” was organized by the Department of AYUSH and Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy on 5th and 6th November 2007 at New Delhi. The objectives of the workshop were to sensitize the stakeholders, policy makers and physicians from other medical disciplines, pharmaceutical industry, NGOs etc. regarding the strengths of Homoeopathy in Mother and Child Care and to create greater awareness and avenues for coordination amongst the practitioners of different streams of medicine thereby benefiting the patients at large. The workshop also aimed to assist the participants in acquisition of practical knowledge that will lend them for the follow up activities of replicating this workshop at state and district levels and also become active participants in the development and evaluation of women and child health programs in India, through Homoeopathy. The workshop unanimously resolved that Homoeopathy could play a useful role in preventive and promotive health care of women and children and popularize and utilize the system at the primary and secondary health care delivery level. Central Government will provide financial and technical support for the IEC activities to the State Governments. The State Governments will set up more Homoeopathic Indoor and Outdoor treatment facilities in existing allopathic hospitals under the NRHM. A CME programme for practitioners exclusively on mother and child care would be evolved and implemented at district level. The Panchayati Raj institutions, Urban self-government institutions, NGOs would also be involved in the campaign. Resource centers at central and state level will also be set up. It was also resolved to constitute a National Task Force under the Department of AYUSH with a representative from the State Governments to plan and coordinate campaign.
The National Task force has been constituted which has identified the States for conducting State level workshops in the first phase. These states have been provided guidelines for conducting workshops in their states. States which have conducted workshops are provided the action plan for implementing the campign activities at the grass root level.
State Level Workshops on Homoeopathy for Mother and Child Care
The National Campaign at New Delhi was widely attended by the stakeholders (policy makers, homoeopathic & allopathic physicians, NGOs and representatives from industries) and this generated a lot of enthusiasm among the participants. The meaningful interaction among resource persons and the participants on various facets of Mother and Child Care through Homoeopathy ignited a lot of interest among the participants from different states. It was, therefore, planned to conduct state level workshops by the State ISM&H Departments involving all stakeholders.
Four States have already conducted state level workshops and other states have also scheduled their activities. Thereafter, the campaign would be taken to the district and sub-district levels. The Panchayats, Urban local bodies, Homoeopathic practitioners, PHCs. and CHCs. etc. would be involved in this effort. As resolved in the National Workshop, State Governments should start Mother and Child Health (MCH) clinics of Homoeopathy at PHC and sub-centre levels for the benefit of large number of patients. It is hoped that such integration at the PHC, CHC and district level hospitals would enable the general public to have a choice of treatment in Homoeopathy and other systems under one roof.
States which have conducted workshops on Homoeopathy for Mother and Child Care:
Uttar Pradesh: The workshop was held on 17th & 18th March 2008 at Lucknow. The workshop adopted resolutions on the lines of the national workshop held at Delhi. It was resolved to start homoeopathic clinics and IPD facilities for Mother & Child care in Allopathic hospitals up to the districts level. It was also decided to involve Homoeopathic Medical colleges and NGO’s working in Health sector in urban and rural areas.
Andhra Pradesh: The workshop was held on 24th & 25th March 2008 in Hyderabad. It was resolved to conduct district level workshops to carry forward the message. It was also resolved to involve NGOs for creating awareness among the people about role of Homoeopathy in Mother and Child Care. Homoeopathic Kits for Mother and Child Care will be provided to the health care providers at the grass root level for benefiting the patients.
Kerala: The Workshop was held on 10th & 11th May, 2008 at Thiruvanthapuram. In view of the strong infrastructure available in Kerala in Homoeopathy, it was resolved to operationalize the campaign through district & panchayat level institutions with a view to reap maximum benefit. President, Grama Panchayaths Association of Kerala assured that all the Panchayat Homoeopathic dispensaries throughout Kerala will initiate introduction of Happy Mother and Healthy child theme in their dispensaries. It was resolved to have this campaign on the active go as a follow up measure through conducting district level programmes in Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Eranakulam and Kozhikode Districts. It was also decided to actively involve the Homoeopathic Medical Colleges situated in concerned districts in such campaigns. One of the Hospitals constructed recently in Kannur District will be dedicated to Mother and Child care through Homoeopathy.
Tripura : The workshop on Homoeopathy for Healthy Mother and Child Care was held on 19th and 20th May 2008 at Pragna Bhawan, Agartala. It was resolved that Homoeopathy hospital at Agartala should have all the facilities for undertaking antenatal, intranatal and postnatal care. It was also resolved to upgrade the N.S. State Homoeopathic hospital up to the level of State Hospital of other systems so that crisis management care can be taken up.
Gujarat: Encouraged by the success of the workshop of the National Campaign, the Government of Gujarat has decided to launch the Mother and Child project in the Community through a unique Public-Private initiative. This project will try to integrate with the existing programmes in Public Health and cover 99 villages of Karjan taluka of Vadodara District. It will focus on anemia control and mother and child health. The technical support will be provided by the Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Homeopathic Institute which has been working in the area for last 4 years. Department of Health and Family Welfare of Gujarat and the Department of AYUSH, New Delhi will co-sponsor the project.
With these initiatives it is hoped that people will become more aware about the potentials of Homoeopathy for Mother and child care and more facilities in terms of special clinics for mother and child care at CHC, PHC, sub-centre, district and panchayat level will benefit the patients.
*Director, Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, New Delhi