The Ayush Ministry is in the process of identifying 12,500 health and wellness centres across the country to deliver traditional medicinal services at grass-root level with special focus on preventive health care keeping in view the rising instances of chronic lifestyle diseases, official sources have said.
The Central government aims at strengthening its flagship health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat by integrating traditional medicine therapy with allopathy at the primary health centres to check rising non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
It is stressing on seamless integration of two pillars of Ayushman Bharat -- Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) --- to achieve the "health for all" target.
According to official sources, the need for appointing AYUSH doctors has been increasingly felt at the Primary Health Centres level, particularly following the success of a pilot project launched in 2016 in three districts - Bhilwara (Rajasthan), Surendranagar (Gujarat) and Gaya (Bihar) -- ayurvedic medicines, dietary regimen and yoga classes are being used to treat non-communicable diseases.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has, for instance, developed anti-diabetic ayurvedic drug BGR 34, which has proved a milestone in curing diabetic disease, an official said, adding it's a scientifically developed drug produced by completing various medical tests and is proving very beneficial in controlling diabetes.
Replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha a few years ago, AYUSH minister Sripad Naik had said that the BGR-34, jointly developed after standardisation and pre-clinical studies by the CSIR's two labs -- the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) and the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), is meant to be used by patients of newly diagnosed diabetes only as a measure of disease management.
The drug is being sold by Delhi-based AIMIL Pharmaceuticals.
BGR-34 is a natural DPP-4 (dipeptidyl peptidase 4) inhibitor, a class of drugs which help to lower blood sugar levels in people with type-2 diabetes, and has no side effects, said Sanchit Sharma from AIMIL.