Doctors stage State-wide protests against ‘mixopathy’

Withdraw notification allowing Ayurveda practitioners to perform surgeries, says Indian Medical Association

Members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Tamil Nadu State Branch, on Tuesday staged demonstrations across the State against “mixopathy”.

This was part of the nationwide protest called by the IMA. They were demanding withdrawal of a notification issued by the Central Council of Indian Medicine approving M.S. (General Surgery) for Ayurveda graduates to perform 58 types of surgeries.

Several doctors of the government and private sectors, besides members of the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association, took part in the protest. In Chennai, a demonstration was staged at the Government Stanley Medical College Hospital, where IMA members were joined by those of the Federation of Government Doctors Association.

C.N. Raja, president of IMA, Tamil Nadu, said the demonstrations were held in compliance with physical distancing norms across the State, including in Coimbatore, Salem, Erode and Tiruchi. “To oppose mixopathy, we have called for withdrawal of all non-essential medical services at private hospitals on December 11,” he said.

Hundreds of doctors affiliated to the IMA staged demonstrations in front of the district headquarters hospitals in southern districts. In Madurai, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Thoothukudi and Ramanathapuram, the doctors said the idea would create confusion among patients and the public.

At a time when many developed nations looked at India’s healthcare system as a model, the Central Council of Indian Medicine’s notification was misleading. The Centre should withdraw the notification in the larger public interest and dismantle the committees formed in the NITI Aayog, they said.

“We are protesting against mixopathy not because we fear that allopathy doctors would be affected. But eventually mixopathy will affect specialisation in AYUSH. Ayurveda has been a big attraction of medical tourism in Kerala,” said IMA Madurai president V.N. Alagavenkatesan.

Members of the IMA, Tiruchi branch, staged a silent protest at three places — in front of the Collectorate, the IMA Hall on Salai Road and Chathiram bus-stand. Though outpatient services were not affected, the protesting doctors avoided treating patients for about three hours between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the city and its suburbs. “How could Ayurvedic doctors perform surgeries without anaesthetists? They cannot don the mantle of anaesthetists,” said M.S. Ashraf, former national vice- president, IMA.

S. Sethuraman, former president, IMA, Tiruchi, said the decision was ill-conceived and would have adverse ramifications for India’s health sector. Moreover, it would allow quacks to thrive.

In Erode, doctors said there was neither anaesthesia nor antibiotics in Ayurveda and questioned how Ayurvedic doctors could perform surgeries in the absence of anaesthesia and antibiotics for post-operative care. IMA State secretary A.K. Ravikumar, who took part in the demonstration in Coimbatore, said, “We are not opposing any system of medicine. We want purity of system.”

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