TRANS-DISCIPLINARY RESEARCH CLUSTER, JNU
Pluralist Health Care: Knowledge, Technology, Practices and Policy
Increasingly, health care is becoming pluralistic throughout the world with the wide variety of ailments and conditions requiring expert attention. The list of health problems requiring expert attention is growing bigger and bigger with the addition of life style ailments, recovery from accidents and trauma, iatrogenic problems, mental ailments and adjustment problems to the existing burden of acute, genetic and infectious diseases. Improvements in life expectancy, has brought aging related problems on board alongside pressing problems of child health and nutrition. No one medical system is adequate to handle these problems and populations habitually resort to various remedies and approach a number of experts. Different knowledges and practices are found in the public domain with governments promoting a whole range of medicines and wellbeing practices under its health care delivery mechanism. In short, pluralist health care has become a global phenomenon. The private sector is already booming with health services of diverse nature, both regulated and unregulated. A lot of cross practice is found with professionals trained in one system adopting some practices from others and has created a vast area of medical practice with blurred borders.
India is endowed with rich biodiversity and is also the hub of medical pluralism; a wealth of knowledge on the medical uses of plants and minerals is scattered. India is also a global leader in the manufacture of generic biomedical drugs with a significant infrastructure for pharmaceutical development. What are the institutions in India where plural medical practices co-exist? What kinds of interaction are found between systems of medicine and medical practices? How effective are these interactions for the medical and health practices involved? What kind of policies and models of medical pluralism are adopted by countries of the world? Which legal frameworks and approaches will be relevant, meaningful and effective for the Indian situation?
Herbs have become important commodities under medical pluralism and India as a region with high scale of biodiversity is at the cross roads. What kind of protocols and influences are found in the development of new ‘herbaceuticals’? What are biomarkers used in integrated drug development and how are they developed? There are numerous individual studies on pluralistic health practices, but missing is a broader classificatory framework within which they could be placed and critically examined in their multiple dimensions. Mainstreaming of AYUSH systems of medicine in the public and private health care delivery institutions has also given rise to important issues of integration of medical systems and mass production of traditional drugs.
This Trans-disciplinary Research Cluster on ‘Pluralist Health Care’ is a platform to engage with the eight officially recognized systems of health knowledge in India--Allopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa, Homeopathy, Yoga and Naturopathy-- along with the folk practices and practitioners found in all regions of the country. It proposes to bring together global experience on developing pluralist systems and work towards developing theoretical, technological and systemic approaches to pluralist medicine as relevant to the present Indian context.
Accordingly, the TRC on Pluralist Health Care is committed to the following objectives:
To develop a trans-disciplinary matrix to organize plural and integrative health practices and research at various institutional levels in terms of their biological, clinical, social, organizational and policy aspects.
To document published research work on this theme.
To develop complete case studies of selected diseases, drugs/substances, procedures, institutions, methods of validation and verification, emergent innovations where integrative or plural approach to health care is found
To collate information on state mechanisms for regulating medical practices and promoting robust medical pluralism in India and from different countries. To develop a classificatory system of models of medical integration
To work towards developing legal instruments to protect medicinal plants and traditional health related knowledge in the public domain
These are challenging tasks demanding expertise across disciplines - life sciences, medicine, law and the social sciences.
This TRC has, therefore, been instituted by a group of nine faculty members from three different schools and six Centres of JNU— Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Centre for the Study of Science Policy (all in the School of Social Sciences), Special Centre for Law and Governance, the School of Computational and Integrative Sciences, and the School of Environmental Sciences. We hope to involve colleagues within the university from other Centres/Schools as well, and to develop collaborations with researchers/institutions outside JNU, especially those engaged in practice and research related to the various systems of medicine and health knowledge.
Members and Publications
Dr. Saradindu Bhaduri,
Centre for Studies in Science Policy,
School of Social Sciences
Prof. Ritu Priya, CSMCH/SSS
Prof. Indira Ghosh, (Retd), SCIS
Prof. R.N.K. Bamezai, (Retd), SLS
Dr. Aditi Saran, SC&SS
Prof. V Sujatha, CSSS/SSS
Dr. Sunita Reddy, CSMCH/SSS
Dr. Prachin Ghodajkar, CSMCH /SSS
Dr. Nupur Chowdhury, CSLG
European Regulation of Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals - https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-04594-8
Administrative Structure and Functions of Drug Regulatory Authorities - https://icrier.org/pdf/Working_Paper_309.pdf
Poor Definitions threaten drug trials in India - https://www.nature.com/articles/nm0113-15?error=cookies_not_supported&code=0b09625e-fdca-401c-9393-51691fd2e1f8