NITI Aayog outlines key role of J&K Ayush during COVID pandemic

Reached out to 44 lakh people; deputed over 50% staff’

Irfan Tramboo

Srinagar, July 4: The NITI Aayog in its latest report has lauded and outlined the key role of the Directorate of Ayush, J&K during the COVID-19 pandemic while noting that it reached out to more than 44 lakh people through several programs and on an average deputed 55 percent of the Ayush workforce for COVID-19 mitigation.
The report titled “Mitigation and Management of Covid-19—Compendium of Ayush-based Practices from Indian States and Union Territories”, said that during the COVID-19 pandemic and different phases of the lockdown, access to healthcare services was hampered due to travel restrictions, making a room for the Ayush to make a difference.
“Equitable public health care delivery emerged as one of the major public health delivery challenges, and the Directorate of Ayush, J&K took the lead in popularizing the health promotion and disease prevention principles of Traditional Systems of Medicine,” the report said.
The NITI report said that Directorate of Ayush J&K provided the much-demanded Ayush products and medicines prescribed by MoA, GoI while noting that it reached more than 44 lakhs people through its Public Health Outreach Programs, Peripheral OPDs, and awareness camps, where COVID-19 Ayush essentials were distributed among the vulnerable population, COVID-19 affected isolated and convalescents, and also for post-COVID-19 debility management.
“Using its wide network of Ayush Health and Wellness Centres, Ayush Dispensaries, Co-located Ayush Units in CHCs/ DH/ GMCs, Ayush J&K was able to reach marginalized population groups, front-line COVID-19 workers, and healthcare workers.”
Concerning the utilization of Ayush Human Resource and Infrastructure, NITI Aayog said that on average 55 percent of the Ayush workforce from district headquarters was deputed for COVID-19 mitigation efforts including surveillance, testing, contact tracing, and distribution of medicines as well as on roaster duties in CCCs.
Further, concerning the infrastructure, Government Ayurvedic Hospital, Jammu was converted into a quarantine center for COVID-19 positive patients while COVID-19 vaccination was provided from the Ayush HWCs of Reasi, Shopian, Bandipora, and Anantnag district.
“To adequately re-orient and equip the Ayush workforce with the principles and practices of Ayush and its role in the prevention and management of COVID-19, digital platforms were used to give real-time training.”
The report also noted an upsurge in demand for Ayush remedies and products among the general masses, increased OPD attendance in Ayush institutions, and demand for more mass promotion activities from social organizations and Government departments and organizations.
The NITI said that the Directorate of Ayush, J&K also used digital and social media platforms to promote self-health care models, by popularizing non-pharmacological and lifestyle modifications like Yoga, Pranayama, Dincharya, Ritucharya, diet and nutrition for prevention and management of COVID-19 disorders.
It also underlined that the district administrations in J&K are giving an even more inclusive role to Ayush in terms of manning and managing CCCs, isolation facilities, and quarantine centers, while stating that the Ayush is aiming to complement and supplement the efforts of the UT and district administration in the containment of the COVID-19, through health promotion and preventive measures as advocated by MoA, GoI.
While deliberating on the issues that were faced and addressed simultaneously, the NITI Aayog said that a major Ayush service delivery challenge was to maintain the continuous flow of services for the public even during the lockdown, when primary healthcare services were restricted due to logistical issues.
“The presence of Ayush Medical Officers and healthcare workers was ensured to make the process of comprehensive healthcare a continuous phenomenon.”
It also stated that during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Directorate of Ayush operationalized 194 Ayush health and wellness centers, and ensured their infrastructural upgradation while more than 15 diagnostic tests are also being conducted.
“During the lockdown, the Directorate of Ayush, J&K raised AHWCs as centers of holistic healthcare through established principles and practices of Ayush,” the report stated.