India has a rich ancient history of traditional medicine. We are, perhaps, the pioneers of medical treatment in the world, with ayurveda and siddha being in practice as early as 2nd century BC. Our proficiency in Ayurveda is well documented in texts such as the Charaka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita which are revered by medical practioners even today.

There are six forms of traditional medical practices popular in India- viz. Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy, together known as the AYUSH system. For years, these schools of medicine have suffered from neglect and step-motherly treatment from both the public and modern medicine practitioners. This has lead to the Govt. Of India launching an initiative to overcome this divide. Apart from promoting AYUSH treatments, the Government also plans to pass the Bridge course bill, through with it aims to encourage AYUSH practitioners to train and practice modern medicine. Such integration of AYUSH systems into allopathy will surely be beneficial, for it’ll not only help develop a more holistic way of treating patients but also change our nation’s mindset towards traditional medicine. In a country with a population of a billion, where many rural communities still believe in traditional medicine, this will pave the way for improved diagnosis and treatment.

We are a world ravaged by a pandemic, with drug resistance is reaching its zenith. As such, it’s only fair to explore new avenues to combat these challenges . If our rich heritage is harnessed properly, by well trained practitioners, there’s no doubt that we can achieve unparalleled success in patient care by bridging AYUSH with modern medicine


In 2017, the Ayush bridge course proposed by the NMC Bill drew a lot of criticism from allopathic doctors across the country. It was seen as a means through which quackery was being legalised by the government, in the disguise of improving rural health services, which they claimed to be suffering due to scarcity of doctors.

Ayush and Allopathy are based on completely different beliefs and outlooks and sometimes even contradict each other. Hence, allowing Ayush doctors to practice allopathy will not only lead to a dilemma among patients, but among the Ayush doctors as well. Ayush graduates who would have trained for 5.5 years in a science that is deeply rooted in philosophy and religion and has a very distinct pharmacological and physiological perspective, could face difficulties in choosing the branch of medicine they should apply for a particular patient. Mixing Ayush and allopathy treatments could be harmful, as the metal ions, minerals and herbs could interfere with the effects of modern medicine.

Even though Ayush doctors claim to have studied a little bit about modern physiology, pathology and anatomy, it does not suffice, even with a bridge course to practice allopathy, a course for which MBBS students sacrifice their youth. How can Ayush doctors get trained in allopathy in a year’s time, what MBBS graduates take 5.5 years to learn and master, and yet be given the same stance as their MBBS counterparts?

As the modern day, internet informed patient is becoming more aware of the various health care options and prefer consulting only with specialists from premier institutes, Ayush doctors may not receive a status equal to MBBS graduates, nor equal pay. This is something they will neither be able to question nor digest.

One of the major reasons behind the bridge course was scarcity of doctors at PHCs in rural areas. But instead of increasing the number of medical colleges and seats per annum and scrutinising the real reason behind the hesitancy of doctors to practice at PHCs in remote areas, the Ayush bridge course was introduced. By improving the infrastructure, safety and the salary of MBBS graduates, the government can definitely attract more doctors to work in under-served areas. Provisions for setting up Telemedicine services with a good internet connection in government hospitals can also go long way in improving the current health scenario.

Hence, by introducing the bridge course the government is not just being unjust to the MBBS graduates, but is also depriving the people of this nation quality healthcare. This course could do more harm than good for the patients and Ayush doctors as well. Hence, this course should be scrapped.       



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