Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's Speech
Traditional Medicine: Our Strength
I am indeed delighted to inaugurate the Ayurveda Hospital Complex and to interact with the students. My greetings to Principal, physicians, researchers, staff, health planners, students and all those associated with this Ayurveda Hospital for their excellent contribution in promoting the cause of integrated medicine for removal of human misery and pain.
The Hospital, I understand is contributing in the Ayurveda research and also medical care. Kerala has been a leader of Ayurveda system of medicine for centuries. The traditional eight branches of Ayurveda treat various types of diseases and provide personalized treatment to individuals. Ancient knowledge is a unique resource of India, for it has the treasure of a minimum of 5000 years of civilization. I am delighted to note that with the experience of a 139 bed hospital the Institution is now expanding with an additional 350 beds.
The contributions made by Ayurveda Hospital in providing effective remedies for various kinds of ailments such as paralysis, piles, fistula, ulcers, discogenic diseases, degenerative diseases of central nervous system, allergic diseases, eye diseases, HIV/AIDS, TB and Cancer are indeed noteworthy. It is also important that the hospital and training college are integrated. I am sure the clinical data so far recorded will lead to good research in the field of discovering molecules leading to ayurvedic medicine. I would like to talk on the topic ?Traditional Medicine: Our Strength?.
Biotechnology in Health Care
I would like to share my experiences that I had while I was in Anna University, Chennai. One of them resulted in getting a patent for a new molecule discovered from a herb as an anti cancer drug. This came out of the fusion of two great minds, one was a bio technologist and the other was a traditional siddha medical practitioner. The traditional system of medicine like Ayurveda, Siddha etc. have advocated and practiced preventive and curative medicinal recipes specific to individuals. The body, mind, food and environment were looked at holistically to suggest a preventive or curative approach to health. Medicinal plants offer enormous scope for development of drugs. We need to create database of traditional medicinal plants for specific bioactivity and lead for development of new drugs.
The convergence of bioscience and IT into Bioinformatics has given the thrust to researchers for genomics-based drug discovery and development. Pressure is mounting over the pharmaceutical companies to reduce or at least control costs, and have a growing need for new informatics tools to help manage the influx of data from genomics, and turn that data into tomorrow's drugs.
Bioinformatics data play a vital role and emerging as a business model for the medical and pharmaceutical sector. Key areas such as gene prediction, data mining, protein structure modeling and prediction, protein folding and stability, macromolecular assembly and modeling of complex biological systems are thriving and IT has major role to play in these areas in bringing the tools to manage the high throughput experiments and the data they generate, and sharing and integrating all the data in a meaningful way resulting into the detailed models of complex systems, particularly biological pathways.
Networking the Institutions
Our country is rich in human resources, particularly of scientists, doctors, technologists and engineers. The basic infrastructure is available for advanced research. The need of the hour is to network the existing facilities and expertise with commitment and conviction to augment and facilitate the pace of research and development. There are tremendous opportunities for technologists to work for an 'Integrated Health For All' in a mission mode which can be suitably evolved for implementation. I would suggest Ayurveda Hospital to carry out collaborative research with other renowned Ayurvedic and Allopathic Hospitals so that the diagnosis and treatment database will increase and lead to sharing of knowledge and good medical practices. The combination of Ayurveda Hospital and the college should enable to establish the connectivity to the Ayurvedic research laboratories and drug manufacturers. This practice will reinforce good teaching. Good research is essential for good teaching.
Mobile Clinics in Hill Regions
On 19th October 2002, I participated in the launching of a Mobile Clinic and Research Centre in Uttaranchal. This effort was piloted by the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council [TIFAC], the Government of Uttaranchal, Birla Institute of Scientific Research and many other agencies. After three years of its operation, I found this mobile clinic has been used in six districts of Uttaranchal and treated nearly 45,000 patients during this period. Among the patients treated, 48% belong to the below poverty line category. They have taken 10,000 ultra sound, 5,600 X-rays, 1800 ECGs and nearly 21,000 lab tests. The mobile clinic has documented the disease profile of the patients in the region (six districts) which falls into the following categories: acute peptic ulcer, anemia, anti-natal, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, hyper tension, pelvic inflammation, renal calculi, upper respiratory tract infection and worm infection. This type of analysis has been possible because of computerized system of clinic management introduced right in the beginning. Also, the mobile clinic has been used in regions which are normally inaccessible and where organized medical facility is not available. This, I consider as the best form of reaching the healthcare to the neediest people in the state. This is a low cost solution with committed healthcare personnel and institutions. I would recommend Ayurveda Hospital to have a mobile clinic moving to different villages located in Kerala, particularly hilly regions and conduct periodic medicare camps so that the number of patients coming as, out patients, will substantially reduce. And research potential of the hospital will increase.
This Ayurveda Hospital with its college can take a mission to scientifically bring out a document on which diseases uniquely Ayurvedic treatment gave the cure. Based on this experience, even the syllabus in the Ayurveda College and the treatment can be configured. What is needed now in the country today is the evolution of treatment for the disease like HIV and HIV-TB combination. If Ayurveda research and practice can give a solution, it is a great contribution to the world.
Conclusion: Doctors as health awareness creators
Since every one of you is involved in the noble profession of removing the pain of the people, you can also play a vital role in preventing ailments through proper health education to the patient as well as to his or her relatives and friends through life style intervention. This can consist of a proper diet with low fat and high fiber, regular aerobic exercise like walking and stress management through Yoga, meditation and other methods. This can help in preventing the recurrence of the disease in the patient as well as promoting health awareness at all levels. When you remove the pains of the people, the patient becomes part and parcel of you and considers you almost as God. Hence, the patient will definitely accept your health education considering you as the most respected guru. Every patient receives his family members, relatives and friends when he is receiving healthcare in the hospital. That is the occasion where you can give this message of a healthy life style to all of them.
I call upon the youth and medical Ayurvedic medical professionals assembled here to proceed confidently and chart your own course in achieving excellence in your chosen field. In the Western Ghats there are invaluable bio-diversity, which has been well documented. This region has been the cradle for Ayurveda and I wish you many more success in your endeavours. With these words, I inaugurate the 350 bed Ayurveda Hospital Complex.
My best wishes to all the students and Faculty Members in their mission of removing the pain of the people through traditional medical system which is India?s civilizational heritage.
May God bless you.