Schwabe News Volume 1 | Issue 2 | December 2010
A panel formed by the insurance council will probably recommend that alternative healthcare systems such as homoeopathy, ayurveda, unani and siddha should be treated on par with allopathy when it comes to medical insurance, said a person familiar with the committee’s thinking. “The department of Ayush has approached the General Insurance Council for looking at the possibility of accepting claims under the non-allopathic means of treatment,” said a person familiar with the development at the Council. “They made a presentation to council members, who in turn, have formed a three-member committee to look into the matter.”
The committee comprises chief executive officers from Star Health, Max Bupa and Apollo, the person said. It would examine the merits and demerits of the proposal and recommend processes to implement if it is convinced that these types of medicines should also be covered under health insurance. The Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority will take a call on the issue.
A large section of India’s more than a hundred crore population takes alternative means of treatment which is recognised by the government, but not so far by the insurance industry. Insurers where most of them are in a joint venture with a global company, say there is not an established way to verify these claims and no data to rely on. “Under allopathic means of treatment, there are scientific studies and we know how long a treatment will take, how much will it cost,’’ said TA Ramalingam, head of underwriting, Bajaj Allianz General Life Insurance. “But under the alternative means, we do not have enough data to cover them.”
But the health and family welfare ministry is pushing hard for it as it is affordable and the majority of the population makes use of the domestic expertise in these areas. Allopathic medicines are expensive even for those who are in urban centres.
The Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy was created in March 1995 and re-named as Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, or Ayush, in November 2003 to develop education & research in those fields.
“In a country like India, it is important to bring medical services within the reach of people from all strata of society. Efforts should be made to integrate modern medicines with that of homoeopathy, ayurveda, siddha and unani,” said President Pratibha Patil. The President was addressing the Maharashtra Arogya Mandal’s (MAM) golden jubilee celebration at Balgandharva Rangamandir here on Monday. “Making medical services available is crucial for the sustained growth of the country’s economy. The country not only needs a robust health system framework, but a preventive approach to ward off diseases. Creating awareness among people and sensitising them about taking precautions through continuous campaigning is the need of the hour,” said Patil.
The country has a total of 271 medical colleges. A total of 31,000 trained medical graduates pass out of them every year. Despite this, the number of trained doctors is inadequate. The current ratio is half-a-doctor per thousand population. In US, this ratio is 2.3 per thousand population, said the President. “The demand for medical education in our country is so vast that our students opt for admissions in other countries like Russia and China. While raising the number of colleges imparting medical education, we will also have to focus on the qualitative enhancement as well,” said the President. Stressing on the intrinsic benefits of every form of medicine, Patil said, “Every form of medicine has its own strengths. It will be unwise to give undue importance to any one form. We need to integrate all of them to render affordable medical services to all.” During the event, the governor of Maharashtra K Sankaranarayanan unveiled a plaque for a school named as Dr Dada Gujar primary, secondary and higher secondary school. A souvenir called the ‘Dhadpad Pannas Varshachi’ and a ‘Charitra Granth’ on Dada Gujar, written by Jaiwant Gandhale, were also unveiled during the event.
State forest minister Patangrao Kadam, state transport minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Mohansingh Rajpal, mayor of Pune and MAM’s president S F Patil were among other dignitaries present on the occasion. MAM’s secretary Anil Gujar proposed a vote of thanks. A walk down memory lane President Pratibha Patil became emotional at the mention of senior socialist leader and writer G P Pradhan. She remembered her days when she had visited the Sane Guruji hospital in the capacity of deputy minister for health for the inauguration of its 200 bedded hospital on January 14, 1969. She added that it would have been a great moment had he been alive and present today.
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