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Monday, July 6, 2009

Traditional Healers Meet- Krishnagiri

Traditional Healers Conference

Centre for Traditional Medicine and Research, Chennai is carrying out a project entitled ‘Documentation and Validation of Local Health Traditions’ in Salem, Namakkal, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamilnadu with grant from Department of Ayush. Govt.of India. So far over 170 traditional healers have been interviewed and their healing practices documented. As Part of the field based research activity an one day ‘Traditional Healers Conference’ was organized at Forest Extension Centre, Krishnagiri on 28th June 2009. Over 70 healers from the districts of Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri Districts took part in the conference. Ten institutionally trained Siddha physicians and 15 field staff of the forest department also took part in the meet. Dr.M.A Kumar, Deputy Advisor- Siddha and Nodal Officer for LHT projects. Department of Ayush presided over the inaugural session and delivered a lecture detailing the objective of this intervention, mainly to revive the lost healthy traditional health practices which will reduce the health expenditure burden of the community. He stressed that the traditional medical science has survived this long, mainly due to the oral traditions handed over by the healers to the next generation as institutes have come up only in the last four decades. Mr.Ganesan, the district forest officer, Hosur in his inaugural address emphasized the need to live in harmony with nature, as living in harmony with nature is the cornerstone of health care in traditional medicine and appealed to the practitioners to use the medicinal plants in a sustainable way and regenerate them in home gardens, community parks and as hedge crop in their agricultural land.

Four vaidyas were presented ‘Best healer’ award on the occasion. Mr.Kembae Ramiya of urigam at the ripe age of 84 not only provides treatment in this interior forest village, but maintains a good herbal collection and imparts knowledge of the healing practice to seekers. Mr.P.R Krishnan aged 82 is continuously imparting training to a group of 40 healers for a period of 12 years and created a good library and a miniature common medicine processing facility at Dharmapuri. Mr. Kathirvel of Nalampatty a bone setter, treating atleast 300 persons every day with the help of his assistants for whom he has imparted training and Mr.Sivaprakasam of Thonganur who treats atleast 500 persons every Sunday were awarded. The Awards were presented by Dr. L.P Yuvaraj and Dr.K.Kootharsan, senior Siddha physicians of the districts. Vaidya S.Usman Ali, director – CTMR and Dr.T.Thirunarayanan shared the findings of the research so far and the healers took active part in the deliberations which followed. Dr.Sugumaran, Dr.Hariharan and Dr.Sunandani – Siddha physicians shared the views of the institutionally trained Siddha physicians and expressed their willingness to work closely with traditional healers.

The healers displayed the fresh plants used by them, Raw drugs used by them and rare form of medicines prepared by them. The healers also visited the medicinal plants garden maintained at the Forest extension centre and Vaidya. S.Usman Ali explained to them the propagation technique to be adopted for different plants