Alternative medicine

Alternative medicine practitioners cannot use the title “doctor”: HC

The High Court, in a written verdict, said on Saturday that the Department of Health and Family Planning on September 3, 2014 unlawfully allowed practitioners of alternative medicine to use the title ‘doctor’ before their name.

The bench of judges Ashraful Kamal and Razik-Al-Jalil also issued four directives, including the immediate development of a plan, guidelines and a law for the implementation of the declaration of Almaty and Kazakhstan made in 1978 to ensure health care for all.

The court issued the directions and observations in the judgment, which was delivered on November 19, 2020, after disposing of a writ petition filed in 2019 by the National Medical Association of Bangladesh, a platform promoting alternative medicine and medical practices.

In its judgment, the court observed that practitioners of allopathy, unani, ayurbedic, homeopathy, herbal medicine and acupuncture were permitted to use the title “doctor” before their names, in violation of Section 29 of the Medical and Dental Council of Bangladesh Act 2010.

The court said that the Bangladesh Homeopathic Board on February 6, 2020, in another notification, illegally allowed homeopathic doctors to use the title “doctor” before their name.

The court referring to the law said that only MBBS and BMDC degree holders from medical and dental institutes registered by the BMDC can use the title “doctor”.

The court, however, observed that alternative medicine practitioners may use the title “integrated medicine practitioner” or “complementary medicine practitioner” or “integrated medicine practitioner or complementary medicine practitioner” before their name.

The court said that alternative medicine practitioners cannot use the title doctor before their name, even in India.

In the guidelines, the court recommended that the government follow a policy of “patient-centred care” to ensure treatment for all by the conventional and alternative medicine systems.

The tribunal recommended the establishment of a separate ministry like the Ayush Ministry of the Government of India.

The tribunal also recommended measures to provide education, training and services to practitioners of alternative medicine and to recognize the degree of universities, colleges and specialized educational institutions.