With vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria surfacing again this season, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has directed states to use expertise of department of Ayush -Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy and Unani -in checking their spread.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, who has long been an advocate of alternative medicine, is looking closely at the potential of unconventional systems of medicines in controlling vectorborne diseases.
The ministry has already issued advisories for prevention and control of dengue, malaria and other vector borne diseases under the Directorate of National Vector-Borne Diseases Control Programme (NVBDCP) to all states.
The minister recently said in Parliament that states should use the expertise of Ayush doctors for malaria control programme. “The Central Council for Research in Ayurveda, Homoeopathy, Unani under Department of Ayush has also patented and commercialised an antimalarial drug AYUSH 64,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan.
According to sources, Ayush doctors will be trained on early diagnosis and complete treatment and will be provided with necessary diagnostic tools and anti-malarials for treatment of uncomplicated malaria cases.
The government recently appointed 11,478 Ayush doctors and 15,924 paramedics, including Ayush paramedics, on contract to fill in critical gaps under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
According to a recent research by National Institute of Malaria Research, published in the latest issue of Malaria Journal, natural products isolated from plants used in traditional medicine with potent anti-plasmodial action (anti malarial) represent potential sources of new anti-malarial drugs.
“The main cause of the worsening malaria situation in recent years has been the spread of drug-resistant parasites. This has led to rising malaria-associated mortality. Anti-malarial drug resistance has emerged as one of the greatest challenges facing malaria control today,” the study said.
“The government would ensure that traditional medicines, manufactured in India under trademark of Ayurveda, Unani and the like, would have to conform to the prescriptions provided under the WHO,” said Nilanjan Sanyal, Secretary, Department of Ayush, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.