A FEW months back, the Wafaqi Mohtasib had recommended (Dawn, April 13 and May 5, 1991) a number of measures for improvement of the homoeopathic system of medicine in the country, including upgradation of minimum qualification to F.Sc/F.A, creation of a central organization on the lines of Pakistan Dental & Medical Council, introduction of Homoeopathic Drugs Act and increase in government grants for homoeopathy. Besides, the Mohtasib had also recommended elimination of the subject of Minor Surgery from the curricula of the Four Year Homoeopathic Diploma Course, D.H.M.S. The rationale for exclusion of minor surgery was stated to be indulgence of homoeopaths in the practice of surgery against certain sections of the Unani, Ayurvedic and Homoeopathic Practitioners Act, 1965.
While some of the recommendations, it may be noted, have been implemented by the Ministry of Health, the more importance ones, such as creation of a central organization, increase in grants and introduction of the Homoeopathic Drugs Act have been allowed to lapse, for reasons best known to the high-ups in the Health Ministry. The failure on the part of the concerned officials to fully implement the recommendation of the Mohtasib not only speaks of their indifferent attitude towards homoeopathic system of medicine but also sets a bad example of defiance of the Federal Ombudsman’s authority. Homoeopaths of Pakistan have serious doubts about the claim of the government to give homoeopathy an equal opportunity to play its due role with other systems of medicine in the sphere of health. Any further delay in fully implementing the recommendations will only serve to augment the doubts.
The Wafaqi Mohtasib’s recommendation with regard to exclusion of minor surgery from the curricula of DHMS will have far reaching repercussions and needs to be seen in a wider context.
The approach of homoeopathy towards surgery is clear. While admitting the importance and usefulness of surgery, homoeopathy is against indiscriminate resort to mechanical means in managing the so-called surgical cases. The results of the homoeopathic treatment in cases of renal calculi, enlagement of prostate gland, polypus, tonsillitis, hernia, uterine prolapsus, fibroid, tumours, etc., are very impressive.
Hundreds of case-reports preserved in homoeopathic literature of the past 190 years prove the efficacy of homoeopathic treatment in the so-called surgical cases. But homoeopathy has its limitations and scope; it cannot cure all such cases. According to the teachings of homoeopathy, the cases too advanced and outside the curative action of homoeopathic remedies are to be forthwith referred to the surgeon.
A student of homoeopathy studies surgery not for performing operations but to acquire enough knowledge of the subject to discriminate between the surgical and non-surgical cases. A homoeopath with the basic knowledge of surgery is in a better position to distinguish a surgical case from a non-surgical one than a homoeopath totally ignorant of the rudiments of the subject.
The UAHP Act, 1965 provides sufficient safeguards against the unauthorized practice of surgery by homoeopaths. The best course will be, in my humble view, to proceed against the defaulting homoeopaths under the relevant sections of the Act instead of going for outright elimination of the subject from the curricula of DHMS.
As a further deterrent, the relevant sections of the Act may be amended so as to provide for a more stringent punishment, including cancellation of registration to practice as a homoeopath.
Daily Dawn, September 26, 1991