Traditional medicine centres are being opened to cater to members of the Indian Armed Forces, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Union Ministries of Defence and Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
The MoU was signed at the inauguration of a traditional medicine centre by Shripad Yesso Naik, the Minister of AYUSH and a Minister of State for Defence, at the Base Hospital Delhi Cantt’s Palliative Care Centre in New Delhi. The facility, named the Ayurveda Palliative Care Unit, will be the first of several catering to the Armed Forces as per the MoU. Similar facilities will be established at the Army Research and Referral Hospital, the Hindon Air Force Hospital, and five Delhi polyclinics which provide services under the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), a scheme which provides treatment for ex-servicemen and their dependants in empanelled civil and private hospitals as well as service hospitals.
“Our soldiers work in challenging environmental conditions right from glaciers of Siachen to the desserts of Thar, which takes a toll on their physical as well as mental health,” Naik said at the event. He cited AYUSH practices and medicine such as panchkarma and yoga as carrying health benefits for servicemen. In particular, Naik identified the practices of snehana and swedana as useful for musculoskeletal illnesses sustained in the line of duty.
The AYUSH Ministry has been pushing to expand traditional and alternative medicine services throughout India, suggesting certain treatments be covered under the Centre’s health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat, calling for an AYUSH centre in every state and opening 12,500 health and wellness centres to provide such services throughout the country. 4,000 of these are expected to be built this year.