AIIMS to have integrated health study centres

by Aditya Kumar

The Ministry of Ayush, the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have announced a call for proposals to establish integrative health research centres at the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) under its extramural programme. This initiative, known as the Ayush-ICMR Advanced Centre for Integrative Health Research scheme, aims to promote collaboration between different systems of medicine and encourage integrative health research.

The proposal comes at a time when the Indian government is pushing for traditional Indian medicine, including Ayurveda, to be included on the World Health Organisation (WHO) list. Inclusion on this list will provide Ayurveda and related systems with a common language, allowing health professionals worldwide to share standardized information.

The Ayush-ICMR Advanced Centre for Integrative Health Research scheme seeks to develop integrative health research by combining the Ayush system with conventional biomedicine and modern technology. This combination aims to create holistic healthcare, resulting in improved patient outcomes through innovations in diagnostics, preventive health, and treatment methods.

Currently, only AIIMS institutes can apply under this scheme, which provides a maximum budget of ₹6 crore per center for an initial period of three years. This budget can be extended up to ₹10 crore for a period of five years. The scheme also aims to identify gaps in knowledge and priority areas where integrative medicine can have potential. Integrative research will be conducted in these priority areas to generate robust evidence.

The scheme will also focus on developing integrative management protocols that involve inputs from both traditional and modern medicine. These protocols will be based on evidence generated through research and will be used to guide healthcare policies and programs in the future. India, with its rich heritage of indigenous medical knowledge and robust infrastructure and skilled workforce in contemporary medicine, is well-positioned to take advantage of the global resurgence of interest in integrative medicine.

To further support this initiative, a memorandum of agreement between the Ayush Ministry and ICMR was recently signed to promote high-impact research on integrative health using modern scientific methods. This joint effort aims to establish Ayush-ICMR Centres for Advanced Health Research at AIIMS in phases. The centers will also conduct high-quality clinical trials on promising integrative therapies for diseases of national importance to generate evidence for wider acceptance.

Overall, the Ayush-ICMR Advanced Centre for Integrative Health Research scheme is an important step towards integrating different systems of medicine and promoting holistic healthcare. It not only aligns with the government’s efforts to include traditional Indian medicine on the WHO list but also recognizes the potential of integrative medicine to improve patient outcomes and contribute to healthcare advancements.

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