Greetings Dear Readers,
Today in this special COVID-19 Issue we have invited Mr. Rajkamal Yadav, Mission Director, AYUSH Mission UP / Special Secretary AYUSH Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh (India). Rajkamal Sir is known for the Digitalisation of AYUSH Department, bringing under common umbrella all the AYUSH wings. AYUSH is the acronym for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy.
Through his project of AYUSH KAVACH app; AYUSH TELEMEDICINE; AYSUH SAMVAD; AYUSH Department was able to provide services to citizens of Uttar Pradesh during the COVID-19 pandemic. We shall know more about these projects and how AYUSH Department was able to fight back COVID from Rajkamal Sir himself.
Dr. Anoop K Srivastava (AKS): Good Morning Sir thanks for accepting our invitation and managing time for this interview from your busy schedule.
Rajkamal Yadav Sir (RKY): Good morning.
AKS: First we will like to know something about you. How you joined Administrative Services; was it your childhood dream?
RKY: You can say so; but if I put in my words then serving my country had been my childhood dream. I did my early schooling from Sainik School, Lucknow. The army background developed this sense of serving my Nation in me. Later I did my Graduation from Madras Veterinary College; it is from there that my love for nation was channelized to joining Administrative Services. I felt that by joining Administration I can achieve my goal better. And the rest is history; I qualified in my first attempt in 2012 with 21st rank.
AKS: It means it is from your background of Army School that you developed this persistence and decision making abilities. In 2019 you were transferred as Special Secretary, AYUSH Department and I must say you gave a new "look" to AYUSH Department, the Digital aspect flourished under you. What have been the major decisions under your tenure which you feel helped AYUSH Department?
RKY: Digitalization of AYUSH had been my topmost priority whence I joined office. You may be surprised to know that Our Traditional system of Medicine is so rich and we have so much data on the subject; but everything is so scattered that obtaining proper information becomes cumbersome. We needed a common platform for all the Traditional systems which would provide all information through a single click. It will not only help in providing information but will also help in giving right guidance to the public.
We were working on the project, but the pandemic intervened. On 4th March 2020 first confirmed case OF COVID-19 was reported from Ghaziabad (U.P) and on 11th March 2020 COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. So all our efforts were now prioritized considering the pandemic.
AKS: One of the biggest challenges after you joined office was the COVID-19 pandemic. What were the major steps taken by you to meet out the pandemic in Uttar Pradesh?
RKY: Prevention and limiting the disease spread has been our major focus for combating COVID-19. The traditional systems of medicine have a lot to offer in this ongoing pandemic of SARS-CoV-2 infection. They share the philosophy of strengthening the human body and mind and maintaining good health through preventative, promotive, curative and rehabilitative approaches.
To deal with COVID-19, the Government of India took a bold step to initiate AYUSH system in the pandemic by constituting the 'Interdisciplinary AYUSH Research and Development Task Force' with the objectives of reducing the associated morbidity and mortality. The task force has initiated various activities for boosting research and bringing modern medicine and AYUSH systems together to fight this challenge. This opened the gateways of utilizing our traditional medicines to meet out the challenges of COVID-19. The rapidly growing burden on healthcare services across the nation solicits for collaboration and interaction among clinicians of modern medicine and AYUSH systems. Today, we have a unique opportunity to bring modern medicine and AYUSH together with all its tradition and experience with the single aim of stopping this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Considering these we developed the AYUSH KAVACH app with the feature of AYUSH TELE KAVACH for helping people during the pandemic. This initiative of AYUSH Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh, is a blessing especially in times like these where the entire country is stuck at home and struggling with health vulnerability.
AKS: Your contributions to AYUSH in the form of AYUSH KAVACH app and one of its feature AYUSH TELE MEDICINE has been applauded. Can you tell us something about it? How did you conceive its idea?
RKY: AYUSH KAVACH app, with its features of AYUSH TELE MEDICINE, AYUSH SAMVAD all have been a part of digitalization of AYUSH system. Under the aegis of Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath ji this project was developed to promote AYUSH system of medicine. By being a click away we provide authentic data on the system and the ease of the app usage develops credentials. Through these apps AYUSH system has become accessible for the common public and the idea has been accepted by all.
The AYUSH mission has provided home-based treatment facilities to patients through its 'AYUSH Kavach' app. Ayurveda, Unani and homeopathy experts can be consulted for prevention of diseases by calling through the app. This app was launched on May 5 by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ji. The app is laced with many incredible features such as Live YOGA sessions for different age group users e.g kids, adults, elderly people, pregnant women. The app also delivers sections such as Office stress Management yoga protocol, and many more that provide an extensive list of yogas for a person to manage stress. The app also contains general information and precautionary measures that will help the user to understand how to protect them from the COVID-19 crisis.
There are two ways to control the spread of disease: the direct and the indirect. We are adopting the indirect mode by providing every service at your door; so there is no need to step out. At the time of lockdown, there was a growing concern on how medical consultation would be possible. So we presented the AYUSH TELEMEDICINE, where you can consult your doctor through phone and internet. Through the app, on a phone call the doctor talks to the patient or his family and enquires about the symptoms of the disease and fields other health-related queries. In this, around 230 doctors from all the three disciplines offer advices. More than 100 calls can be received at one time on this app. We have given around 27,000 tele-consultations till now. The live program by the name of AYUSH SAMVAD runs on the app every evening from 5 p.m. The AYUSH KAVACH app has also helped to control the panic among people and helped in promoting strict lockdown too by providing the much needed health facility at their doorstep.
Other than this I personally felt that it has also helped in promoting AYUSH medicines. Newer People have been introduced to traditional system, the live Yogasanas sessions, the medicines. The app also has specialty wise consultation which helps the people to know about the scope of traditional medicines in their disease. More people have been touched by its benefits and they have realized the beauty of AYUSH system. We have received lots of mails and responses from people appreciating this project. We are working on providing more services in this direction.
AKS: Yes that's true. But bringing into enaction this vision requires a lot of effort and team work. Managing COVID-19 in such a large population requires a mighty team? Tell us something about Team of Homeopathy in Uttar Pradesh?
RKY: Homeopathy Department has a huge and potential work force in Uttar Pradesh. We have 9 Government Homeopathic Medical Colleges and around 1575 Homeopathic Dispensaries out of which 121 are in City area while 1454 are in rural setup. In the dispensaries alone we have around 1075 doctors and around 1222 pharmacists. We also have around 560 more doctors who will join office within a month. The Colleges too have their own Out Patients Departments and In Patients ward where we even provide specialized consultations. I am proud to say that we have a mighty team of dedicated professionals and this helped us a great deal in our tryst with COVID-19.
With their help we reached out to the masses for distribution of Arsenicum album 30 as preventive. Our doctors and pharmacists have been working in L-2, L-3 Centers, and Quarantine Centers for tracing and tracking of COVID-19 cases. They have also provided Tele consultation to the patients during the lockdown. Some of our hospitals and colleges have also been utilized as Quarantine centers and even as COVID Hospitals.
AKS: That indeed is great effort. What do you feel how effective has AYUSH system esp Homeopathy been in combating Covid-19.
RKY: Though it is very early to conclude but there are reports of efficacy of Homeopathic remedies chiefly Arsenicum album 30 in preventing COVID-19. AYUSH ministry on 6th March 2020 published an advisory for meeting the challenge arising out of spread of corona virus (COVID-19) in India. Various medicines found useful in treating flu like illness are Arsenic album, Bryonia alba, Rhus tox, Belladonna, Gelsemium, Eupatorium perf.
The reports we are getting from different sources, districts, hospitals is quite impressive. I myself have taken the medicine and have advised all my close contacts to use it. WE have also distributed Arsenicum album to HUGH population through AYUSH dispensaries /units and colleges. But it is still too early to comment on the comparative research trials or study on the subject; I do feel that there is a need controlled studies and clinical trials to prove the efficacy of Homeopathy in preventing COVID-19.
AKS: That indeed is a good suggestion and we too feel the need for such scientific researches. To conclude this interview we request you to share some message with our readers on your vision for AYUSH department.
RKY: I would suggest that now the time has come to take a major leap where we can move beyond the borders of being alternative and traditional system. We should work on providing scientific evidences and focus more on moving hand-in-hand with the recent researches. We have to prove that our foundations may be old but our services and knowledge are of recent advancement. For this we should present and share with the world our qualities and our worth. Be it through camps, scientific seminars or through internet. This ways we will be able to remove the taboo of traditional medicine from Homeopathy.
I also hope that rigorous research on AYUSH systems will help India to innovate and aspire global leadership in healthcare.
AKS: Thank you Sir, for being here with us and for sharing your views.
RKY: Thanks, the pleasure was all mine.