The Army’s health services come under the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), which employs more than 6,000 doctors trained in allopathic medicine.
New Delhi: The week-long Army commanders’ conference which will begin here next Monday is expected to take a call on whether to introduce alternative and traditional Indian systems of medicine like ayurveda, unani, naturopathy, siddha, homoeopathy and Sowa Rigpa in Army hospitals across the country.
Listed as an item for discussion in the confidential agenda note prepared for the meeting of top Army brass, any final decision will be taken collectively via the collegiate system which will ensure due diligence.
The Army’s health services come under the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), which employs more than 6,000 doctors trained in allopathic medicine. Opening its doors to alternative systems of medicine would mean recruiting professional experts from these alternative medicine streams.
Traditional systems of medicine have received a major fillip after the setting up of the Ayush ministry in November 2014 a few months after the BJP-led NDA government came to power.
Applying alternative and traditional medicine systems in the context of the armed forces is being seen as a challenge largely because the armed forces operate in a combat setting where application of such alternative systems may not be feasible.
Nevertheless, last year the government allowed the use of such medicines on terminally-ill patients who have stopped responding to allopathic treatment and also allowing a trial study at a few top hospitals, including setting up two Ayush centres at the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi and the Air Force Hospital near Hindon.
“After facing some resistance, finally it seems that the move to introduce such systems of medicine is finally attaining consensus,” said a top military official on condition of not being named.
The Army commanders’ conference is an important event in the planning and execution process of the Indian Army, that undertakes a 360-degree look at the current emerging perspectives on issues relating to operations, logistics, administration, human resources and welfare.
The biennial conference is addressed by the defence minister while the Army Chief presides over the event. All seven Army commanders, heads of defence public sector undertakings and the directors-general of various military units and branches, including the director-general of AFMS, attend the conference.