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AYUSH Benchmark – WHO and AYUSH Ministry initiative

World Health Organization(WHO) is working to develop AYUSH benchmark to standardized the practices. This is part of the WHOs strategy to make traditional health medicine system safe and accessible for everyone.

Ayush Benchmark
Ayush Benchmark development – a joint effort by WHO and AYUSH Ministry to benchmark AYUSH practices. Pic courtsey – Pixabay.com

Development of AYUSH Benchmark

WHO and AYUSH ministry has signed a Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) which includes the development of the AYUSH Benchmark documents. The meetings for the same, scheduled between 17th to 19th Sep, concluded today. These meetings were coordinated by National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA), Jaipur and organized by the ministry of AYUSH. The three days programme contained four sessions on each day.

Preparation of the draft document for AYUSH Benchmark

The benchmark draft document being prepared by WHO will be reviewed through a thorough consultative process by a total of 39 experts from 18 countries, 13 experts each from Ayurveda, Panchkarma, and Unani. The agenda of the meeting is to thoroughly review, comment and make changes to each of the three zero draft documents prepared by the experts, as needed. The final goal is to arrive at a consensus globally regarding the structure and content of each of the documents by finalizing the draft. These documents will provide minimum requirements for qualified practice by practitioners of Ayurveda, Panchkarma, and Unani to provide minimum safety requirement for practicing these. The documents will also serve as a reference to national authorities to establish/ strengthen regulatory standards. This will ultimately ensure the qualified practice of such system and patients safety.

Dr. Sungchol Kim, regional advisor, Traditional Medicine, WHO, thanked the AYUSH Ministry for financial and logistic support as and when needed. He welcomed all the experts involved in the 3 day long discussions. He also stressed the need to integrate traditional medicine system into the conventional medicine system.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan (Deputy director-general, WHO) said that traditional medicines are an important integral part of the Universal Health Coverage Program, especially under Sustainable Developmental Goal-3 (SDG-3). She also informed that AYUSH Systems have been included in the 2nd Traditional Medicine Module of ICD Chapter-11.

National Ayurveda Morbidity Standardised Terminology Engine (NAMSTE)

During the discussions for AYUSH benchmark, Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha (Secretary, AYUSH) briefed about the activities undertaken by the Ministry of AYUSH. He informed that the NAMSTE portal was actively being used by the government. It was even used in recent rehabilitative work done by AYUSH during the Kerala floods. NAMSTE is a web-based portal developed and maintained by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences(CCRAS). For reference, CCRAS is the top body of research in Ayurvedic Sciences. This portal exclusively works for the centralized collection of morbidity statistics of various healthcare provider institutions under all AYUSH systems spread over the country. Currently, it is being used to document all AYUSH facilities and activities.

WHO on Ayushman Bharat Yojana

It is also expected that WHO may provide assistance in the activities undertaken by AYUSH ministry under the government’s Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Ayush Ministry has also requested the WHO for their assistance in creating programmes and solutions specific to India. These are needed to fulfill the need of the large population base of the country who are still not able to find safe and easily accessible medical facilities.

Useful links to follow

Conclusion

Creation of AYUSH benchmark will be a big boost to not only Indian traditional medicine systems but this will also help the people across the world by providing safe and standard medical services. There is a need for an alternative system of medicines and hopefully, the creation of this benchmark document will be the first step in filling that void.

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