There was a time when the term “alternative medicine” conjured up visions in many people’s minds of shamans, charlatans, and crackpots. But times are fast changing. In the past few years, there has been a growing interest in traditional, complementary and alternative medicine and its relevance in public health both in developed and developing countries. Backed by strong support from the Union Government, AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy), a system of traditional holistic medicine, is now being extensively practiced in India and is fast gaining traction and popularity across the world. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands too has joined the bandwagon with a marked shift in people’s preference for the indigenous Indian Medicinal system.
Practitioners of Indian medicinal systems attribute this trend to the increasing awareness among the public regarding the efficacy of AYUSH and increased allocation to the AYUSH Ministry purposed with developing education and research as also to increase health centres offering services in these areas of medicine. Speaking to EOI, the In-charge of AYUSH Hospital, Junglighat, Dr Kalyan P Kadbhane informed that more than 500 patients visit the hospital on a daily basis. “Besides OPD, a 30 bedded In-patient facility is also available at AYUSH where presently 22 are undergoing treatment,” he said.
Doctors at AYUSH ensure expert care for every patient here. A minimum of five minutes is given to each patient for preliminary investigation, which varies depending on the condition of the patient. The Hospital also has a full-fledged Pharmacy Unit where all types of medicines are available. Across these islands, there are 12 Ayush hospital located at Mayabunder, Car Nicobar, Bambooflat, Neil Island, Tushnabad, Chouldhari, Baratang, Billyground, Kalighat, Diglipur and Rangat. Patient turnaround at these health centres too is steadily rising as AYUSH system of medicine addresses full range of a patient’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and environmental influences, maintained Dr Kadbhane.
“Majority of the cases dealt by the Ayurveda Department pertains to arthritis, skin problems, neurological disorders, gastroenteritis etc. Using panchakarma, oil therapy (termed snehana in Ayurveda) and different types of massages are given to patients. The Department of Homoeopathy having 3 to 4 Doctors here deals with around 200 to 300 patients in a day. Having a 10 bedded in-patient facility, most of the cases dealt by Homoeopathy doctors pertains to women, children and genetic disorders. The Unit provides expert treatment for different types of infections, skin problems, nutritional and lifestyle disorders, allergy and other diseases related to women,” informed the AYUSH Hospital In-charge.
Yoga too has become immensely popular in these islands and is presently practiced by hundreds of people realizing its benefits. The AYUSH Hospital promotes Yoga among its patients urging them to adopt healthy lifestyle. Yoga classes for general public are conducted from 5 am to 6 am, while OPD patients are also imparted yoga training. Doctors from the Homoeopathy Department also refer patients for yoga classes. Further, doctors from the AYUSH Hospital conduct yoga classes for pregnant women at GB Pant Hospital once in a week as also hold training sessions in schools and colleges at regular intervals, added Dr Kadbhane.