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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 41-42

COVID-19 and Ayurveda in Argentina

Ayurveda Prema Health Foundation, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Date of Submission18-May-2020
Date of Acceptance25-May-2020
Date of Web Publication14-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. J L Berra
Fundacion de Salud Ayurveda Argentina, Buenos Aires
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JACR.JACR_8_20

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How to cite this article:
Berra J L, Berra A. COVID-19 and Ayurveda in Argentina. J Ayurveda Case Rep 2020;3:41-2

How to cite this URL:
Berra J L, Berra A. COVID-19 and Ayurveda in Argentina. J Ayurveda Case Rep [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Sep 30];3:41-2. Available from: http://www.ayucare.org/text.asp?2020/3/1/41/289379

The first COVID-19 case in Argentina, imported from Italy, was reported on March 3, 2020, and the first death 4 days later. On March 19, with a total number of cases of 97 patients and 2 deaths, the President of the country Alberto Fernandez announced a mandatory lockdown for 15 days. As of May 17, 2020, there are 8055 positive cases and 373 registered deaths. Argentina's health system is also dealing with a dengue fever outbreak, with 67,263 cases since August 2019.[1] The health sector, based on state public care, the coverage of the social and private security systems, shows severe long-standing deficiencies. The country also suffers severe economic problems, including a chronic inflation situation, and is facing a possible default of the national debt.

There were four renewals of the quarantine which is still in force. In comparison with other countries of Latin America, it is mentioned that the population of Argentina has shown high acceptance and adherence to the lockdown.

Since the beginning of the lockdown, we have been regularly streaming programs through social media which includes Ayurvedic suggestions related with food, nutrition, uses of spices and local herbs, as well as Pranayama Yoga and Meditation. Several thousand persons are viewing each program. They have informed that it has been particularly useful to cope with the mental stress produced due to the fears to pandemic and the lockdown conditions.

Ayurveda has a presence of several decades in Argentina. Fundacion de Salud Ayurveda Prema is conducting university courses on Ayurvedic medicine since 2000.[2],[3] Some of the courses have also the joint certification from the Argentinean Medical Association.

We have detected a significant increase in the interest of doctors in the study of Ayurveda. They are looking for a scientifically based medical system that knows and cares for the person who suffers from an integral perspective, offering their own and nature's resources that are respectful and effective. This year, as in previous years since 2000, the Indian Ambassador in Argentina, Sri Dinesh Bhatia had participated in the opening ceremony of the XXI Annual Course on Ayurvedic Medicine. In his lecture, he shared the experiences with Ayurveda in his daily life. Due to sanitary restrictions caused by the quarantine, all our Ayurveda courses are carried out virtually. It was a totally novel and challenging situation. Some justified questions and fears appeared. Would it be possible to transmit the wisdom of Ayurveda through a screen? Would the screen be a means of contact or a barrier to reach the hearts of the participants? We have found that it is perfectly possible to transmit the essence of Ayurveda in an attractive way, sharing its values and knowledge. Of course, it is necessary to enable times and spaces for exchange and to provide classes with a special dynamism.

During these years, more than 1500 medical doctors and other university health professionals have studied Ayurveda. A significant number of these doctors are including Ayurveda in their practice. For medical treatments, local medicinal plants are used. Importation of Ayurvedic medicines from India is not possible. Ayurvedic medicine is not recognized within the national health sector, but there are no limitations for it is practice. Malpraxis medical insurance covers the practice of Ayurveda of allopathic medical doctors.

Some of the Ayurvedic tools have been incorporated in several public hospitals by personal initiatives of some participants of the courses. In the context of pandemic, for example, several members of the Army and the state police have been trained in concepts of Ayurvedic Dinacharya, Nutrition and Pranayama, to cope with the situation of working in a dangerous environment.

Ayurvedic recommendations to improve immunity from the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) were shared with the country's doctors interested in Ayurveda. The Foundation is part of the Virtual Health Library on Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicines of the Pan American Health Organization, and all Ayurveda news related to the management of situations generated by the pandemic was also shared with the group of professionals from the health that compose it.

The suggestions from the Ministry of AYUSH and renowned Ayurvedic physicians to promote immunity in the middle of the pandemic were shared with the authorities of the National Ministry of Health and a member of the COVID-19 Presidential Advisory Committee. With the idea of showing easily understandable suggestions by allopathic professionals, the document not only showed the recommendations from AYUSH but also included important references from scientific journals justifying their use and application. There has been no response from them to date. Neither has any government nor health authority's initiative to include resources for traditional and complementary medicines been visualized.

The pandemic has altered and the daily life of billions of people and will continue in this way for a long period of time. There is no country of the world which has not been affected. In this context, a perhaps unique opportunity arises to present Ayurveda both to people at risk and to the health authorities who must make decisions. Some of the actions that could be useful are:

  1. Brief communications of results from Ayurvedic protocols quickly reported through the Ministry of AYUSH to all the international medical community;
  2. Protocols carried out with single medicinal plants found not only in India but also in other world regions, since Ayurvedic remedies are not always approved or available in different countries;
  3. International Ayurvedic multicenter studies with the participation and encouragement from the Ministry of AYUSH.

In conclusion, Ayurveda has been developing significantly in the academic field for decades and is also expanding to healthcare establishments. In this context of the coronavirus pandemic and the stress generated by quarantine, part of the population is using different resources of Ayurveda to promote their health and well-being. However, the health authorities are not considering or taking advantage of Ayurveda's wisdom and scientific knowledge to face the current situation, either for the prevention of new infections or as complementary therapeutic options for the treatment and recovery of affected patients.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Integrated Surveillance Bulletin N 495. Ministry of Health. Argentina.. Ministerio de Salud. Argentina. Available from: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/sites/default/files/ biv_495_se_19.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 May 18].  Back to cited text no. 1
Berra JL, Molho R. Ayurveda in Argentina and other Latin American countries. J Ayurveda Integr Med 2010;1:225-30.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Berra JL, Molho R. Ayurveda Prema Health Foundation: 14 years of postgraduate Ayurvedic education in Argentina. Anc Sci Life 2013;32:182-4.  Back to cited text no. 3

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