Ayurveda doctors discriminated - President

Practitioners in traditional medicine and Ayurvedic doctors face class discrimination in our society which has given more recognition to a man in a suit who practises western medicine,” President Maithripala Sirisena said.

The President was speaking at the inaugural session of the International Symposium on Traditional and Complimentary medicine (Tradmed) yesterday.

The three day symposium held at Waters Edge, Battaramulla attracted companies, researchers and practitioners in traditional and complementary medicine from the USA, UK, Australia, Singapore, Japan, China, India, South Korea, the Netherlands, Iran and Thailand.

‘The man who wears a short sleeved shirt, sarong and slippers is not taken seriously, his knowledge is not given prominence,” continued the President as he addressed the gathering.

“In many countries around the world, prior to the advent of Western medicine, people practiced indigenous medicine and traditional healing methods. But with globalization, they embraced modernity, and research into Western medicine grew. We all gave more prominence to Western medicine, for our own convenience rather than improve our own indigenous medicines, the President added.

The President also recalled an incident where individuals practicing ‘Hela’ medicine had approached him to be registered to practice their skill since officials in the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine who were doctors in western medicine, did not take their profession seriously.

“I have instructed Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne to look into this issue,” he said.

The President also stressed that the symposium should not only be a place to exchange knowledge but also a place where they would discuss methods to archive and collect information on traditional medicinal practices and indigenous medicine,

“More often than not we see that when the ‘veda mahatthaya’ passes away, so does his knowledge. His children have either become doctors in Western medicine or moved on to other businesses. His Ola leaf scripts are buried in a temple or cupboard somewhere. No one is allowed to touch them, see them or study them,” President Sirisena explained. The President also lamented the fact that such important information and knowledge was not being incorporated into modern technology and was being forgotten in the information age.

“We must ask what our plan is to conserve and protect this knowledge?”, the President said.

“The modern age has made us lose our uniqueness, traditional knowledge and made us eager to pursue anything foreign blindly,” the President added.

“This is why the Western doctor is treated differently to the Ayurvedic doctor and the village Veda Mahatthaya. We are not valuing and giving recognition to our own resources.

"We cannot pursue that of more developed countries without giving value and prominence to what is ours,” the President said. 

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