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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 81-83

Integration of Ayurveda in communicable diseases

Director, All India Institute of Ayurveda, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission03-Jan-2021
Date of Acceptance07-Jan-2021
Date of Web Publication18-Jan-2021

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Tanuja Manoj Nesari
All India Institute of Ayurveda, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi, India.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jacr.jacr_2_21

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How to cite this article:
Nesari TM. Integration of Ayurveda in communicable diseases. J Ayurveda Case Rep 2020;3:81-3

How to cite this URL:
Nesari TM. Integration of Ayurveda in communicable diseases. J Ayurveda Case Rep [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Sep 30];3:81-3. Available from: http://www.ayucare.org/text.asp?2020/3/3/81/307216

The vision for “New India” expressed by the Honorable Prime Minister endeavoring to empower women, poor, and youth is praiseworthy. To achieve the vision of “New India,” it needs to be a “Healthy India” where the age-old traditional systems (AYUSH systems of the scenario) can play a significant role by providing quality health care and medical facilities. Currently, a highly receptive environment is being recognized for AYUSH systems in health care. Many reforms are being made at the Ministry of AYUSH at the levels of education, research, administration, nature of practice, etc.

With drastic changes in lifestyle, dietetic habits, increased industrialization, and pollution, global population of 21st century is affecting with various kinds of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that represent a leading threat to human health. These diseases are the world's biggest killers of total deaths. In addition, communicable diseases remain a concern to all countries, imposing a significant burden on economies and public health. These morbidities and mortalities can be prevented with appropriate integration of traditional systems including Ayurveda into health-care systems.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations Member States in 2015 to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by addressing the global challenges.[1] The SDG-3 is focused on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages, which is essential to sustainable development. Before the pandemic, significant strides were made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common killers. However, more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address emerging health issues.[2]

In addition, the WHO also works with a mandate to lead global efforts to control and eliminate infectious diseases and provides evidence-based guidance to support the scale-up of cost-effective interventions that help to bring down the global burden of illness and deaths caused by infectious diseases[3] and recommends mainstreaming of complementary and traditional systems of medicine as an affordable and culturally acceptable way toward achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Although progress has been made in the control of specific communicable diseases, emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic affecting larger areas poses a greater challenge. Available interventions need to be implemented more systematically exploring opportunities for collaboration and integration. In this direction, further investigations are needed that can adapt and implement interventions to provide people-centered integrated health services for all, regardless of their location, gender, or socioeconomic status.

India's epidemiological transition is characterized by a shift from a pattern of predominantly infectious diseases to a state of dual burden of diseases where both infectious and chronic NCDs coexist.[4] To improve the quality of life of the affected individuals, increased utilization of health-care services is the prime requirement. India enjoys the distinction of having the largest network of traditional health care, which are fully functional with a network of registered practitioners, research institutions, and licensed pharmacies. The National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 has also strongly advocated mainstreaming and integrating AYUSH systems into the National Health Mission.[5] Thus, it is crucial at this time for AYUSH stakeholders to develop a strategy for effective implementation of the NHP 2017. The WHO too has underlined the fact that traditional and complementary medicines could contribute significantly to UHC.[6]

The Ministry of AYUSH has a clear strategy to integrate and mainstream AYUSH practices into the health-care delivery system including national programs to strengthen the existing public health system. The Ministry of AYUSH is taking various initiatives in promotion and integration of AYUSH systems with conventional system to increase their acceptability as scientific and reliable system of medicine including Ayushman Bharat Programme.

The experiences with the National AYUSH Mission in the past few years have shown that the AYUSH systems have been successful in improving service delivery in the public health system. They have contributed notably to patient accessibility to health services and also have demonstrated strengths in increasing awareness of health promotion and improving disease prevention leaving leads toward their integration into health-care systems.

AYUSH health-care strategies can play a major preventive, curative, and promotive role in such scenario and can contribute immensely in community health. To make it more acceptable, there is a need to channelize AYUSH resources in a constructive manner. In this regard, a gradual yet progressive approach would be to identify domains where integration may have little or no scope for conflicts.

The current COVID-19 pandemic is defining the global health crisis. The number of deaths and people getting infected is increasing daily throughout the globe. This situation is much more than a health crisis with a potential to create devastating situations at social, economic, and political levels. Although efforts are being made, no effective management to address this infection has been identified till date. Attempts are being made to integrate traditional interventions along with standard treatment protocols of COVID-19. In this view, it is very essential to develop clinical management guidelines focusing at preventive and therapeutic levels.

Apart from preventive measures provided in the guidelines by MoHFW,[7] AYUSH practices specially Ayurveda and Yoga can certainly play a significant role. The basic understanding of COVID-19 infers that good protective immunity is vital to safeguard from severity of infection. Thus, building immunity to address such manifestations becomes an important approach, where AYUSH can contribute.

The interim trends of studies showing some encouraging results in prevention and improving the recovery rate in mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 inferring their role in the management that will further help in preventing disease progression into complicated stages.

All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) under the Ministry of AYUSH has initiated projects such as AYURRAKSHA exclusively for Delhi police personnel to protect from various infections such as COVID-19 along with improving the quality of life. About 95% compliance was observed in the study and the interim trends reported reduction in anxiety and feeling of general well-being along with the reduction in minor symptoms such as cold and cough with decreased COVID incidence rates assumes the benefits of Ayurveda interventions in preventing the infection of COVID-19. The other projects being conducted at AIIA also reported encouraging results in prevention and improving the recovery rate in cases of COVID-19.

Further, preventive and promotive aspects of Ayurveda practices are well accepted internationally. Wherever possible, AYUSH drugs may be used as adjuvants along with conventional management with proper consent procedures. Drugs such as Ashwagandha [Withania somnifera (Linn.) dunal], Guduchi [Tinospora cordifolia (Wild.) Miers], and Pippali (Piper longum L.) have been proven to be safe and useful as immunomodulator, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, etc. Such activities also infer that treatment approaches of Ayurveda can contribute significantly in the area of communicable diseases also. The ministry of AYUSH has considered these drugs for clinical trials in COVID-19-related cases. The integrative management of communicable diseases should complement strengths of modern medicine in critical care and AYUSH practices for strengthening immunity and improving psychological health besides providing better recovery rate with less chances of disease progressing into severe forms as add-on therapeutic intervention. AYUSH can play a major role in making India healthier. Thus, there is a need to have a clear vision to align the system considering national priority areas.

  References Top

Available from: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 18].  Back to cited text no. 1
Available from: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/health/. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 18].  Back to cited text no. 2
Boovaragasamy C, Narayanan S. Utilization of AYUSH in public health care system: A review. Int J Community Med Public Health 2019;6:2730-2.  Back to cited text no. 4
Available from: https://www.nhp.gov.in/nhpfiles/national_health_policy_2017.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 20].  Back to cited text no. 5
World Health Organization. (2013). WHO traditional medicine strategy: 2014-2023. World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/92455/ [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 20]  Back to cited text no. 6
Available from: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/SocialDistancingAdvisorybyMOHFW.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 20].  Back to cited text no. 7


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