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An integrated system of medicine

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services Relating to Health


Source: TH


Context: The ICMR under the Union Health Ministry and the Union Ministry of Ayush has agreed to enhance cooperation in health research in the field of integrated medicine.

An integrated system of medicine/complementary medicine
Meaning It means a conjoint study, training and practice in indigenous/traditional medicine (ayurveda, Unani, etc) and modern (allopathy) medicine.
Why do patients favour complementary medicine? 5 barriers(5As) to healthcare: awareness, access, acceptability, affordability, and accountability.
Complementary medicine gives people with chronic diseases who have already tried a number of things an option. That is why, 50% of people use complementary medicine, and more than 70% have used it at some point during their lifetime.
Concerns No evidence-based benefits of complementary medicine, lack of data on safety and efficacy, and a lack of standardization of formulations.
Integrative medicine is a business: Data shows that it increases the cost of care and does not improve the patient’s clinical outcomes.
Efforts to promote complementary medicine in India The National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA) is an Indian NGO of general practitioners educated in integrated system of medicine.
The National Ayush Mission (launched in 2014) has played a crucial role in preserving and promoting India’s traditional systems of medicine and their integration into the mainstream healthcare system.
WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (Jamnagar, Gujarat) was set up to promote Traditional Medicines as a system of treatment for various ailments.
CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine is a premier institute located in Jammu and dedicated to the research of drug discovery.
Some universities in India offer BISM (Bachelor in Integrated System of Medicine)


What is the agreement between ICMR and the Ministry of Ayush: The two-day National Ayush Mission Conclave talks about the practice at AIIMS and research in complementary medicine.


Significance of the move:

  • It will enhance the treatments that can be offered under one roof.
  • It will help build harmonized protocols for clinical care research, and this is especially important for non-communicable diseases, where medical treatment options are limited.
  • It will take Ayurveda and yoga to the world.


Way ahead: Randomised control trials (RCTs) and peer-reviewed studies of traditional medicine must be promoted.


Conclusion: Many systems of medicine have a role to play in keeping human beings well. Modern medicine is extremely important, but there is a wealth of wisdom and ancient traditions which can be incorporated sensibly and safely for the well-being of man.


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Integrated medicine system to alter the future of disease management