Dr. Munir Ahmed R.
Choosing a career is a very crucial decision any student has to make in his or her academic course. The phenomenon of aptitude testing for the sake of career choice is not very popular in India. It is seen that some people adapt professions unrelated to their academic careers because they do not find job satisfaction in their academic career. It is therefore very essential to assess the aptitude before choosing the career for study. There are many centres which specialise in aptitude testing and career guidance.
The aim of this article is to introduce to the students and parents Homoeopathy as a career option. It is all the more essential to introduce Homoeopathy through these columns, as very few career guidance centres have the awareness of Homoeopathy as an academic career. This article intends to clarify Homoeopathy as a therapeutic model, and to explain the curricular content of the homoeopathic undergraduate course.
Introduction to Homoeopathy
The Homoeopathy model of therapy is based on a number of specific principles. The foremost among them is what the founder of Homoeopathy (Greek - homoeos=similar, pathos=suffering). Dr. Samuel Hahnemann termed as Similia Similibus Curentur, which means let likes be cured by likes. To quote Ronald Livingston, Homoeopathy is based on the observation made by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, its founder, that if a dose of the substance is administered artificially to a patient, the effects of which simulate the illness from which the patient is known to be suffering, the original illness disappears. This might be described colloquially as treatment by analogy or mimicry. What needs to be done in treating a patient is to observe all the essential details of the illness and then seek out the nearest possible group substances producing clinical effects which can be found to correspond, and give the patient suitable immunising doses of these substances. To differentiate the therapeutic model developed by him from the existing medical practice, Hahemann called the prevailing practice as Allopathy (Greek-allos =different, pathos=suffering).
Spread of Homoeopathy and its Education.
The early converts to Homoeopathic model were some of the close associates of Hahnemann, and the others were qualified doctors. For them, adapting Homoeopathic therapeutic principle was coming to terms with their therapy-based attitude, and getting conversant with the principles of Homoeopathy. Institutionalised education of Homoeopathy had not gathered momentum, though Hahnemann himself was on the faculty of the Leipzig University in the year 1811. Homoeopathy was introduced in America in 1825, and soon gathered popularity. The first college for imparting Homoeopathic education as a formal academic discipline was established by Hering in the 1830s. Before long, Homoeopathy made its appearance on the South Asian soil as well. Here it was patronised as in Europe and America by the urban elite. Though there were some converts from the regular medical field many non-medical professionals like teachers and lawyers took up Homoeopathy in a big way. The simplicity of prescription mode and the apparently harmless nature of these medicines were primarily responsible for this new found love. They found in Homoeopathy, a therapeutic model which was learner-friendly and prescriber-friendly. The spiritual thrust given in the Organon of Medicine was an added incentive to the Indian psyche, seeking a philosophical basis for medical practice.
The first efforts to establish an institution offering Homoeopathy as an academic discipline was made in Calcutta in 1881. Many such were established across the country, as the demand increased. These institutes imparted the teachings of Hahnemann and the stalwarts of Homoeopathy regarding the philosophy and pharmacology of Homoeopathy along with the basic medical sciences. Down the years, when Homoeopathy was established as an acceptable parallel therapeutic model and given the official recognition by various government bodies in India, a pattern of Homoeopathic education has been structured. This is modelled after the under graduate course of Allopathic system - MBBS.
Before the establishment of the Central Council of Homoeopathy as the competent body to oversee the educational standards of Homoeopathy in India, each state had its own model of academic pattern. The Central Council of Homoeopathy regulations which came into effect in 1983 have instituted the undergraduate and postgraduate courses with a uniform structure of course and syllabus. The undergraduate BHMS course is classified into; * an academic schedule * an internship program.
The Academic Schedule
It is divided into four units.
Unit One: Duration 18 Months
Here the students are required to study the pre-clinical subjects like Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, along with the Homoeopathic-special subjects like Philosophy, Pharmacy, and Materia Medica.
At the end of the unit, the students write exams in all the subjects.
Unit Two: Duration 12 Months
Here the students are required to study para-clinical subjects like Pathology and Microbiology, Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, and Preventive & Social Medicine. They are also introduced to the clinical subjects like Practice of Medicine, Practice of Surgery, and Obstetrics & Gynaecology. They continue to study the Homoeopathic Philosophy and materia Medica. A new subject, Homoeopathic Repertory, is introduced during this stage.
At the end of this unit they write exams in all the para-clinical, and the Homoeopathic subjects like Philosophy and Materia Medica.
Unit Three: Duration 12 Months
Here the students continue to study all the previously introduced clinical and homoeopathic subjects.
At the end of this unit, they write exams in Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Homoeopathic Philosophy and Materia Medica.
Unit Four: Duration 12 Months
Here the students continue to study the Practice of Medicine, Materia Medica and Repertory.
At the end of the unit, they write exams for all the remaining subjects.
During the course of their clinical studies, the students are to be taught the case-taking method, patient examination method, the diagnostic procedures in the same manner as prescribed in the MBBS curriculum, the only difference being the perception of the disease phenomenon and the therapeutic plan. The teaching of the general management of the diseases, however, remains the same as in any medical management. Very often, teachers with Allopathic academic qualifications are called upon to teach the clinical subjects in Homoeopathic Colleges and Hospitals.
The Internship Program
The internship program is prescribed for a period of 12 months. During this period, the interns are required to work in various departments, ranging from the clinical medicine and surgery to community medicine. They are also required to undertake a project in Experimental Pharmacology. In this project, they have to assess the pathogenic properties and therapeutic viability of one of the medicines from the Homoeopathic Materia Medica.
Homoeopathy has gained popular acceptance over the years. Today it ranks first among all the alternative therapeutic models like Ayurveda, Unani, etc., in India. There is a popular misconception that Homoeopathy is an urban friendly medicine because most of its practitioners are urban based. On the contrary there are some NGOs which are working in rural communities with Homoeopathy as their chosen therapeutic base.
The state support to Homoeopathy in terms of dispensaries, hospitals, and propaganda leaves much to be desired. However, there is a ground swell of popular demand which encourages satisfying private practice.
How to apply
In Karnataka there is one Govt. College at Bangalore, and some private colleges all over the state. Admissions are made to the Govt. College and the Govt. quota in Private Colleges through the Director of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy, Dhanvantri Road, Bangalore -9. The announcement for admissions is made in all major newspapers soon after the announcement of the CET results. Details regarding this may be obtained from the Directorate. The Private Colleges admit students in the management quota according to the norms of their governing bodies. Announcement of this will appear in the newspapers soon after the II PUC results, as the entry qualification is adequate percentage in the 12th standard. It is always judicious to enquire about the recognition and affiliation of the colleges before applying for admission. Details in this regard may be had from the Directorate and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore.
In other states, the respective Directorates of Indian Systems of Medicines and Homeopathy, and the University under whose jurisdiction the college comes may be contacted for details.