When we were discussing with several Siddha private practitioners to understand their view on the system and what compelling reason for them to resort to allopathic practice, most of them felt that if the CCRS, AYUSH, NIS and CCIM had done an ‘iota’ to the system in line with global science in the past and created a clear niche for the system instead of claiming it to be ‘System of Medicine’, the system would not have reached the miserable and pathetic state like what it is. This bitter truth of Siddha system affects adversely only to those in private practice and not for those in Government service.
Instead of making big ‘hue & cry’ and ‘trumpeting’ about the greatness of the system, they should have proved what is so great about the Siddha system at least to the Siddha private practitioners (Students of the system) so that they do not have to prescribe allopathic drugs to their patients.
What the CCRS, NIS, AYUSH and CCIM can do to make the system more useful, relevant and contemporary to mankind, we have the following suggestions
- Never claim or try to position Siddha preparations as drugs, they are preparations and recipes for human welfare
- Promote and popularize the Siddha system as health and welfare system and the system can offer only supportive role to augment health and recovery to patients who are on allopathic treatment or can offer some effect in prevention
- Promote the system for offering relief in the areas of non- communicable diseases like Psoriasis, Vitiligo, Autoimmune disorders etc.,
- Reconstitute the CCIM with scientists/experts of different fields like Director General of ICMR, MCI, Head of leading Medical institutions like AIMS, experts from various branches of sciences like Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Botany, Anatomy, Pharmacology, Pharmacognosy etc., besides experts from ISM and take their guidance and recommendations seriously. Only through such an effort, contemporariness for the system can be achieved
- Change the syllabus of curriculum with latest research contents in herbal science
- Start research activities in Siddha preparations that can augment recovery and offer health to patients who are on medication with allopathic drugs and conduct such studies in line with globally accepted methodologies
- Establish no cross reactivity of Siddha preparations with allopathic drugs
- Abandon all metal based Siddha drugs as they are harmful or unless and otherwise the genotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, mutagenecity etc., are established beyond any doubt as per the global standard. Further, the chemical analysis also must be done. Such findings should be acceptable and accepted in international journals of high standards like Lancet etc.,.
- Focus more research and development rather than false claiming on the system that it is time tested, safe etc., like an old tape recorder.
- Focus on making the system useful to mankind than allowing some Siddha graduates to make claim that they are also as competent as MBBS in allopathic system. The issue is not about Siddha graduates or their competency, the system they have studied has nothing worthwhile to offer to humanity with reference to treatment and cure, even to most common illness. This is the big challenge they face in their day to day private practice.
- Never propose or recommend Siddha graduates the right to prescribe allopathic drugs or integrated curriculum
- Declare all Siddha preparations as health and relief supplements so that the Industry can export them easily. Even otherwise many companies are exporting these preparations only as dietary supplements, health supplements etc.
Siddha system has several values. It is also the failure of Government of India to question these departments as why the government has to incur the tax payer’s money on them and what they have contributed to the health sector with reference to offering cure.
Unless the patients who visit the Siddha practitioners also become smart and aware of the facts and ask them what Siddha preparation they have given to them, will it work, if yes, why then they have prescribed allopathic drugs, are they competent to prescribe such drugs, can they refer the above prescription to some competent authority to cross verify etc., we cannot bring any sweeping change, said Dr Abdul Abbas, MD-Siddha.
Do not hold blind faith but cross verify. Creating awareness is very important to curb this ever growing social menace. We are going to launch awareness campaign to educate the rural folks about various social problems.
It is not confrontationist approach, co-existing approach is needed. Remember, besides the existence and earning of Siddha practitioners, the welfare and safety of poor patients in the inaccessible parts of rural areas also have to be taken care. Government of Tamil Nadu guided by our Amma J Jayalalithaa should advice the Government to do the needful.
Only if the Government of India and Government of Tamil Nadu change the Siddha system as health and relief system and not as system of medicine, Siddha system can serve humanity in a better way.
Dr S Ranganathan