Focal Theme - “Re-aligning the Focus on Health”
8th WAC aims to redefine “healthcare” as the basis for health of individuals and populations. This is tangentially different from the current status it enjoys “as the tool for disease management”. The 8th WAC aims to put Ayurveda at the forefront of healthcare from this perspective, making use of its core values and principles of health preservation and promotion.
At present, majority of the factors that keep individuals and populations healthy lies outside of what is now considered the core of healthcare. Even those that lies within its ambit mostly deals with sanitation, education, nutrition, and vaccination. These factors are majorly dependent upon others, such as infrastructure, skilled human resources, environment, water, economy, and social/political situations etc., none of which have any direct link to healthcare or knowledge of medicine, to be available in a community.
By mooting the “Ayushman Bharat” scheme government of India has for the first time opened a new opportunity for Ayurveda. It has taken on itself the responsibility of keeping 100 million under-privileged citizens of India, healthy. This cannot be done, with the limited resources that we use as a nation, and follow the current healthcare model of disease based interventions. USA spent USD 4.7 trillion in 2017 to manage the healthcare of its citizens. You only need to read the daily news from US, where even the most positive of reports give a grim picture of its healthcare sector. Thus even economies with several times the resources that India has and much less requirements are not able achieve their healthcare targets in the current model.
By renaming all the PHCs as Wellness centres, the Government of India has shown its readiness to change this perspective. Major National Policy documents such as the National Health Policy 2017 and short-term, mid-term and long- term strategic goals as envisaged by NITI Ayog, strongly advocates for reliance on AYUSH sector with appropriate integration into mainstream healthcare system, for achieving the national healthcare goals.
Ayurveda has the potential and necessary knowledge base to support this requirement and share the responsibility. It can define health and identify strata of states of health, which are inescapable in the fall from health to disease. It allows us to define complex diseases with ease, based on the three doshas and the pattern it draws of the individual or the population. It also offers pre-emptive methods to prevent the fall and also corrective methods within the limits of health for an individual or a population. It offers clearly defined states for health of different population, which can vary from new-born to the geriatric. It offers with clarity the deterioration of health in NCDs with specific interventions for each. It identifies vulnerable populations with reference to morbidity, age, gender, or reproductive health. It also offers nutrition, possible rehabilitation, options for palliative care, and practical guidelines for mental health, suitable to each of these populations. Above all it provides a purpose of life and encourages one to have a purposeful life.
Nevertheless, these potentials need strategic polices and well laid plans and thorough execution for fulfil its possibilities. We need a road map for this. And before that we need to create a map of the reality, which shall lead us to the road map.
Mapping out the current resources and drawing out the possible paths of enquiry to achieve this dream, is the goal of this Congress. Thus the 8th WAC shall initiate a new quest in the realm of healthcare, which will support the bold steps taken by the Government of India and also the Universal Health Coverage program of the World Health Organisation thus assuring sectorial equity and responsibility in healthcare for Ayurveda.
- It will strategize for initiating policy dialogues for appropriate integration of Ayurveda in the current Health systems, which will support to leverage its immense potential benefiting the entire humanity.
- It shall generate questions and seek answers for evidence-based utilization of Ayurveda to support unmet needs specific to populations and societies.
- It shall initiate deep inquiries, seeking to find the reasons and ways by which Ayurveda achieves preservation of health.
These questions which shall be churned out in the Congress shall lead to a global movement, seeking their answers. This could put Ayurveda at the top of the map, as the choice, in all health seeking societies.
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