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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Is Primary health care possible through Siddha

On an informal discussion a senior Indian Administrative Service officer with firm conviction of the efficacy of Traditional Medicine asked me if it is possible to provide primary healthcare to all residents of a settlement with Indian Traditional Medical systems. Earlier having applied for a project to Dept. of AYUSH under Public Health Initiative scheme to implement Primary Health Care through ISM for migrant workers and displaced community and the project still bending for a long time in spite of being considered as a good initiative, I replied in the affirmative. She mentioned that under corporate Social Responsibility of the Public Sector Finance Organization she heads CTMR will be given a grant towards the cost of medicines and for promoting Home Herbal Garden, but after an year it’s the responsibility of the organization to make the people understand and agree that ISM approach will reduce frequency of illness and reduce health expenditure. CTMR grabbed the opportunity and wrote a proposal and submitted to Tamilnadu Industrial Investment Corporation. The Chairperson Mrs. Sheela Rani chungath invited CTMR to make a small presentation about the project to the Board of Directors of TIIC. The board readily agreed and on 20th August, exactly a year ago the grant was given on the inaugural day of the Siddha Health Centre in Chinnandikuppam a fisherman colony.

Once it was decided to launch such a programme next started a discussion among the volunteers of CTMR on the location. It emerged that the Centre should be in a settlement of a marginalized society not very far from the city so that it could be closely monitored as it is a pilot project on Public health through Siddha. With prior experience in interaction with fisherman community and their secluded lifestyle from mainstream due to their vocation, basically depended on the coast line and odd working hours and the recent losses they suffered in TSUNAMI, it was decided to start in Neelangarai, Vetuvankeni area. The Posh neighborhood of the rich was little frightening, whether we will be able to get a place. Then came the memory of the Place for health centre available with Catalyst trust at Chinnandikuppam. A Telephonic call was made to its chairman and consumer rights activist Mr.Desikan. He readily agreed to provide the place but also cautioned that the Siddha doctor from Kelambakkam PHC was supposed to visit twice a week but it did not materialize. He also said an allopathy doctor visits every day for a short while and the community participation is not very encouraging. The nearest Siddha facility was Govt dispensary at Adayar – 15 kms away or Kelambakkam 22 kms away. For Hospitalization it is 30 kms to National Institute of Siddha or Anna Hospital, Anna Nagar.

We decided to do a survey of the colony on the awareness about Siddha or any other traditional medicine and utility pattern of health care. Dr.Murugesan, Dean of NIS and Dr. M.Meenakshisundaram readily agreed to send their PG students and internees. CTMR physicians along with the 15 carried out a door to door survey and found the awareness level to be 10% and actual utilization at 3%. This worried us more as if this is the situation where two major hospitals and four teaching institutes exists what would be the status in rural Tamilnadu.
We decided to Organize the Inaugural meeting as an awareness meet and Mrs. Sheela Rani in her conventional way made a very impressive passionate speech in a language of the common man connecting with them. There were more men from the community with little participation from women. So we thought women may not avail this facility. But once we run the centre we realized that men were reluctant as they felt Siddha medicines will not go well with non-vegetarian diet and their alcohol consumption. More interactions in informal group discussion were held to dispel the fears and it was explained to them Non-veg in general is not a barrier to Siddha medicine and alcoholism is any way bad irrespective of the system and in fact taking hepatoprotective drugs of Siddha will reduce the burden of alcohol intake for the vital organs.

Then the procurement of medicines. A list of medicines were drawn based on the essential drug list of the Dept. of AYUSH and due consideration was given to select cost effective alternatives so that the project is sustainable. Due care was taken to include herbal medicines and essential herbo-mineral drugs so that adverse drug reactions were minimal. IMPCOPS procedure of providing institutional membership was delayed but their dealer agreed to provide medicines at same cost and promised just in time delivery. It was a different story that IMPCOPs revised the price of certain key drugs like Thiriphala churanam by 40 % and therefore quantum of drugs that could be purchased with the grant came down for the same value.

Our volunteers went home to home to create awareness about the system and the services rendered by the centre. Dr. Priyadarshini and Dr. S. Rajkumar were the regular doctors and Dr. Padmapriya visited initially every friday till Dr. Priyadarshini got complete understanding. Dr. Priyadarshni had to leave after eight months due to personal reasons and Dr. Indhumathi joined the team. I must acknowledge each of them meticulously maintained medical records and in fact Dr. Rajkumar underwent training on software for AYUSH medical record keeping and analysis.
Then we also extended the services to velankadu a village between Thiruporur and Thirukalukundram , a displaced persons belonging to dalit community settlement colony as many of them had no regular job or land holding and a poor health history. This was done every fortnight and an educated person in the village was trained and given a simple kit of siddha medicine for fever, diarrhea, common cold and scorpion sting.

Analyzing the data after one year, All members of the village are now aware of siddha and simple plant remedies. Now they try steam inhalation, fomentation, use of adhatoda decoction made at home fenugreek and asafetida for abdominal spasm. About 90 % have a health card of our centre and for majority of them Siddha Health centre has become the first contact for condition like fever, head ache, common cold, sinusitis, Acid-peptic diseases, diarrhea, muscular sprain, anemia, post-natal care, scabies wounds in children and many other conditions. About 40% have become well after one or two visit while 20 % keep coming for routine check of Blood pressure etc and only 10% have dropped out. Though minimal level of cleansing therapies and external therapies are being carried out in the centre further infrastructure is required. In all now 1100 patients (Absolute number and not number of patient visits) are availing the facility. The Cost of medicine dispensed so far is close to Rs 1,50,000 which works out to Rs 137 ( Rupees One hundred and thirty seven per patient per annum) including conditions like anemeia for which at least a month treatment is required.

Since on every visit the medicines required for treating the episode is given – say for 3 -7 days depending on the condition and for conditions like NIDDM one month medicine is given the patients are not forced to frequent the clinic which prevents loss of absenteeism from their vocation. More so the time of the centre so flexible as the large chunck come to the centre between 12 Noon to 2.30 P.M after completing sale of fish in the market.

  • Siddha could definitely be a solution to fulfill primary health care needs of a community.

  • Cost of Treatment with Siddha is certainly low with judicious choice of drugs combined with proper adoption of dos and don’ts

  • Maintaining a proper medical record is possible when patients numbers are limited to 30/day per doctor- though during initial period this may be difficult- a volunteer support may be required.

  • There is a need to make Siddha available in every place which will definitely improve utilization

  • News about the centre in English newspaper though has created awareness among others but has not helped reach the target population but has generated interest among others to think of supporting such interventions

  • Excepting on Sundays and National holidays this centre was never closed as some other physician was deputed
    CTMR team is grateful Mrs Sheela Rani Chungath for the motivation and TIIC and others for the support. The informal leaders of the community and volunteers who took part in the health survey.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Speech delivered by Mr.V.Prabakaran I.F.S during Inaguration of Siddha Health Centre

Sri. P. Arulmudi, Chairman, AMR Trust
Dr. M. Padma Sorna Subramanian,Research officer, Siddha Medicinal Plant Garden, Mettur,
Dr. R. Sudha, Ph.D
Dr.K.Thirumagal, Medical officer, AMR Trust and
Dr.T.Thirunarayanan, Secretary, CTMR, Chennai

Esteemed students and Staff of Saradha Niketan College

This is indeed my privilege to be amongst you on this auspicious occasion (15th August 2011) for Inagurating Siddha Health centre

Siddha System of Medicine also known as Siddha Vaidyam in India is the oldest among the Indian Medical Systems namely Ayurveda, Siddha & Unani. & it is also the oldest medical system in the world. Of late people in the West and also east are turning to nature for their health requirements. Hence the demand for natural health remedies and herbal health remedies are increasing day by day and Indian medical systems like Siddha and Ayurveda are gaining popularity all over the world.

The Siddha System of Medicine is an integrated part of Indian medical System contributing much to the health care of human beings, due to its richness and simplicity. Siddha System, propounded by the Siddhars is a vast and unique system which defines health as a Perfect State of Physical, Psychological, Social and Spiritual Well Being of an individual. Such being the importance of Siddha system of medicine, I am, indeed very happy to be associated in opening of this Siddha clinic at Saradha Niketan College for women at Kanavaipudur.

How many of are in knowledge of a medicinal plants development area or the MPDA, established by Forest Department in lokur forests? It is a real coincidence that I was associated in its establishment and now, I here am, involved in inaugurating this Siddha clinic.

Nearly a decade ago, when Dr. Thirunarayanan, started this Centre for Traditional Medicine & Research (CTMR), as a ‘non- profit organisation, I did not imagine it will grow in its stature to this size. I congratulate him and his team for this achievement.

CTMR, apart from running similar siddha clinics and establishing herbal gardens; is also documenting Traditional Knowledge of healing, digitizing Siddha Palm manuscripts, Conducts training in traditional medicine and Publishes simple books.

I learn that, this Siddha clinic is the result of CTMR’s proposed public health intervention through the Project Siddha.
The project Siddha has the following objectives;

Ø To provide preventive and curative health care to cover a population of about 20000. To make available the safe and effective Siddha drugs
Ø To create awareness about good traditional health practices
Ø To utilize the locally available plant resources for better health care and thereby reduce health expenditure. Money saved is money earned!
Ø To give supportive role to the existing public health delivery system.

I wish them success in their endevour.

I will be failing in my duty, if I do not acknowledge the contributions of Thiru . P. Arulmudi, the founder Chairman of AMR charitable Trust.
Thiru. P. Arulmudi and his family have established this Trust with a noble objective of providing healthcare and education to the under privileged. I take this opportunity to congratulate him and his generous family members.

It is also my duty to inform you all, that AMR trust is providing complete financial support for providing medicine, salary to the Siddha doctor and other medical instruments needed for this Siddha clinic.

This clinic will focus on the healthcare of rural young women – particularly on Nutrition related diseases and Gynecological problems.

In conclusion, I once again congratulate the CTMR and AMR trust for this noble venture for providing a healthy educated mind in a healthy body.
Thank you

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Public Health Initiative

AMR Charitable Trust
Centre for Traditional Medicine & Research (CTMR)

Cordially invite you to grace the inauguration of

“Siddha Health Centre”
for reaching the unreached”

on 15/8/11 at 11.00 a.m

Sri Saradha Niketan College for Women
Kanavaipudur, Omalur Taluk, Salem -636 354

Sri. P. Arulmudi,
AMR Trust
will preside.

Sri. V. Prabhakaran, IFS
Director of Sericulture,
Govt. of Tamilnadu
will inaugurate the Centre

Dr. M. Padma Sorna Subramanian Ph.D
Research officer
Siddha Medicinal Plant Garden, Mettur,
will initiate the Herbal Garden Project

Dr. R. Sudha, Ph.D ,
will deliver the keynote address

Dr.K.Thirumagal Dr.T.Thirunarayanan


Thursday, August 4, 2011

CTMR hits centaury in Digitization of Siddha Manuscripts.

One hundred bundles of age-old palm manuscripts collected from different healers and institution trained Siddha physicians have been digitized by CTMR. The project supported by Dept. of AYUSH, Govt. of India commenced in April 2011. The process of collection of the palm manuscripts was done with briefing of different healers associations and individual physicians. The information was also spread through Short Messaging Services and blogging apart from mails. The CTMR team also visited various libraries like Oriental library, Chennai, U.Ve. Swaminathan library, Chennai, International Institute of Tamil Studies, Sarawati Mahal Library, Tamil University library, Publication division of Directorate of Indian medicine to understand the process. The Guidelines issued by the National Manuscripts Mission was followed. Various Mutts particularly saivate mutts, which preserve the manuscripts, were also consulted.

Many of the manuscripts recieved by CTMR were in not so good state, have developed fungal spores, order of folios changed with in the bundle, letters were invisible in some. The first task was retrieving them to a good condition by treatment process. Catalogue was prepared by the Manuscript expert Mr.N.Srinivasan. Only Medical manuscripts were digitized, while the rest were cleaned and retrieved. The rest of the collection includes Tantric healing, Mantras, religious texts like Kandha puranam, Yesu kaaviyam and Astrology related manuscripts.
The cleaned manuscripts in which folios are kept in order, numbered along with CDs are being handed over to individual healers. The healers who are not in a position to preserve in their places deposit the same at CTMR library for safe keeping.
The work of further collection continues and those who wish to provide their manuscripts for the digitization work may contact Dr.S.Rakumar- Project coordinator (94450 90723) or Dr.T.Thirunarayanan- Secretary, CTMR (9444018158)