An online petition has been started to help a soldier who has to fend for himself for treatment of paralysis caused by injuries while fighting terrorists during 26/11 Mumbai terror attack
NSG commando PV Maneesh, injured and paralysed in a grenade blast during the operation in Hotel Oberoi and subsequently awarded the Shaurya Chakra, has to foot the expenses of his Ayurvedic treatment on his own. The treatment will continue lifelong.
He was wheelchair-bound and had an unremovable shrapnel in his head when he was discharged after the allopathic treatments from Delhi and Mumbai Army hospitals. The right side of his body from head to toe was paralysed. The Army gave full salary to him by attaching him to the Territorial Army unit near his home town Kannur in Kerala.
He has been undergoing Ayurveda treatment for the last two years and has regained normal speech and can move better now. Unfortunately, he has been forced to pay the medical bills all by himself because the Army does not reimburse Ayurvedic treatment. The Armed forces do not reimburse non-allopathic forms of treatments. Ironically, Government of India has a full fledged Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. All the central government employees can avail reimbursement for taking Ayurveda or Homeopathic treatment. Incidentally, Defence Minister AK Antony has been using the Ayurvedic system of medicine for the past 15 years and undergoes regular annual treatment for his spondylitis-related problems.
The Army Headquarters has categorically informed the Delhi High Court that the forces cannot provide reimbursement for treatment under any medicinal system except allopathy, since they could not bend the stringent medical audit rules of the forces. In fact, the Army HQ has even maintained that the option of permitting an individual to choose the system of medicine he/she desires is not in the interest and ethos of a disciplined force like the Armed Forces.
An online petition explaining the issue has been started on Change.org asking the Minister of Defence AK Antony to intervene. Here is what it says:
PV Manesh, NSG Commando, saved 40 lives on 26/11 in Mumbai in an act of selfless service, but a grenade blast left the right side of his body paralysed. Manesh, a Shaurya Chakra awardee, regained his speech and certain degree of independent mobility after undergoing classical Ayurveda therapies, but is now forced to pay his medical bills as the Director General, of Armed Forces Medical Services has stated his inability before the Hon. Delhi High Court to include Ayurveda for the purpose of reimbursement of medical expenses to Indian Armed Forces personnel.
What the court said?
Following media reports in 2011, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Delhi High Court, the division bench directed the Centre to frame guidelines for compensation to defence personnel who wished to avail treatment under Ayurveda system of medicine.
The court also directed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to frame guidelines relating to medical treatment and reimbursement within three months, in consultation with the heads of all three defence forces.
What does the army say?
The Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services stated his inability before the Hon. Delhi High Court to include Ayurveda (Indian Systems of Medicine) for the purpose of reimbursement of medical expenses to Indian Armed Forces personnel. Needless to say, it is a sad day when a most powerful living medical tradition that serves the needs of millions of people is disregarded in the country of its origin and practice.
What are we demanding?
The "INCLUDE AYURVEDA" petition demands the intervention of the Hon. Defence Minister, Government of India, and the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to constitute a special committee/ task-force made up of relevant stakeholders from within the armed forces as well as from the Ayurveda medical services sector to formulate clear guidelines for inclusion of Ayurveda under authorised medical reimbursement for (serving and retired) members of the Indian armed forces and implement the same at the earliest.
What does the petition seek to redress?
This petition is realistic in its expectations. We do not say that Ayurveda can be the treatment of choice for all diseases- it depends on the roga(disease), and the roga-rogi awastha or disease-patient status. We can understand that the defence establishment has very complex and sensitive issues to address and how Ayurveda medical care is provided for has to be carefully planned taking into account these multiple factors. We respect that genuine concerns and constraints may exist- some real, some based on ignorance of what Ayurveda is capable of, and perhaps also because of inertia (resistance to change).
AYURVEDA- RESURGENCE AS A MAINSTREAM MEDICAL SYSTEM:
Ayurveda is approved by CGHS, SGHS, and by many of the medical insurance companies. RSBY, the flagship GoI scheme to cover BPL citizens of the country under a comprehensive medical insurance scheme is soon expected to cover Ayurveda too. NABH accreditation as applicable for Allopathic hospitals is now possible for Ayurveda hospitals too and in fact there are several Ayurveda hospitals that are already NABH accredited in different parts of the country.
We only want that the guidelines be framed in a judicious and time-bound manner so that AYURVEDA PLAYS AN APPROPRIATE AND VALID role in non-emergency medical conditions where it has time tested remedies and we are given an opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in the Indian armed forces and their families.
Sign the petition: