200 Years of Homoeopathy - Where Do We Stand?
NATIONAL JOURNAL OF HOMOEOPATHY 1993 Jan / Feb Vol II No 1.
Dr Rajesh Shah.
The Foundation for Homoeopathic Research is all set to celebrate the
Bicentenary year of Homoeopathy in 1993.
Dr Rajesh Shah, the President of the Foundation writes in his article that-it is the need of the time and circumstances that all Homoeopaths should actively participate and make wholehearted attempts to create more public awareness about Homoeopathy. Dr. Shah points out that only a small fraction of the world population goes for Homoeopathy today.
If we compare the chronological age of Ayurveda, Allopathy, Acupuncture and Homoeopathy, we find that Homoeopathy is the youngest of all-a little child, just 200 years old. It was around 1790 that Hahnemann came across Cullens Materia Medica and then, following experimentation, he propounded to the world the Homoeopathic system of medicine in 1793.
At the age of 200 years, how much has Homoeopathy grown? What is the status of Homoeopathy? Honestly speaking Homoeopathy has not crossed even her childhood. Today Homoeopathy is practised mainly in India (more so in certain metropolis), and only in some European countries like England, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Austria, France etc. It has been recognised but is not as popular as it should be. In the Scandinavian countries like Norway, Denmark and Finland, Homoeopathy is just a neonate. In Australia and New Zealand, there are not many Homoeopaths. In Russia, Homoeopathy does not enjoy a respectable place. In the USA Homoeopathy is treated in a very hostile manner. Only in 11 states (ie about 20 percent of states) it is legally permitted to practise Homoeopathy while in rest of USA it is considered a crime to practice Homoeopathy! It means Homoeopathy is treated like black-magic in USA. It is an insult to Homoeopathy, Hahnemann, and homoeopaths all over the world. In China, Singapore, Japan, Hongkong etc Homoeopathy is not practised at all. In the Gulf countries Homoeopathy is prohibited. Homoeopathy is not recognised by WHO as yet.
In European countries like England, Switzerland, and also USA, insurance companies do not reimburse the fees paid for Homoeopathic treatment. In all of these countries treatment of acute, infectious diseases are avoided by most Homoeopaths.
Although we do not have authentic statistical data, it can well be presumed that only a small fraction of the world population goes for Homoeopathic treatment. It is bitter fact, which at the age of 200 years is difficult to swallow. In India, we tend to be happy, feeling that the awareness about Homoeopathy has been increasing. This is true, yet I very strongly feel that it is only a mirage. Homoeopathy has undoubtedly become more popular during the last decade, especially in major cities like Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras. Let us take the example of Bombay. Here Homoeopathy has flourished amongst the upper economic strata. There are six Allopathic medical colleges as against only two Homoeopathic colleges (the second college started only three years ago). Against the number of Allopathic doctors, Homoeopaths are in a very small minority, Asias largest slum Dharavi does not have a single Homoeopathic doctor. There are 2-3 Homoeopathic hospitals in Bombay (two of which are in the same campus) as against numerous Government and Municipal Allopathic hospitals. There are hundreds of Allopathic nursing homes in Bombay and not a single Homoeopathic nursing home. This is the status of Homoeopathy in Bombay which incidentally also has the maximum number of Homoeopaths in the world.
Except a couple of Homoeopathic research units there are no well equipped
research centres as compared to those for the Allopathic schools of medicine.
Taking into account the above facts, every Homoeopath must be shaken up from within to take some action towards improving the status of Homoeopathy.
What are the causes behind such a maldeveloped and retarded growth of Homoeopathy? I think there are three main causes. viz.
- Education System:
Our education system especially at the remotest places is not upto the mark. Most Homoeopathic colleges lack expert and devoted Homoeopathic teachers. Most Homoeopathic institutions do not have attached hospital facilities. Somehow our education system has failed to motivate every student to practise Homoeopathy. The standard of education has not been at a high level. Unfortunately Homoeopathic colleges are producing pseudo-Allopathic doctors.
- System Limitation:
Due to lack training and motivation many Homoeopaths are unable to exploit the efficacy of the science in treating most of the acute cases. (We must be happy when only a few Homoeopaths cure a few difficult acute cases. Sporadic cures do not carry much significance). It is of not much value when one homoeopath treats successfully a case of Encephalitis. It is important that most Homoeopaths be able to treat most of the acute cases of Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Nephritis etc.
- Lack of efforts by Homoeopaths:
To me, the most important factor behind the poor status of Homoeopathy is the lack of efforts by all of us. After Hahnemann, Boenninghausen, Herring, Kent, Boericke, Pierre, Smith and Vithoulkas, there is not much individual contribution over the last 150 years. There is a lack of organised attempts in fundamental research. Again, due to internal politics our progress is inhibited.
Our attitudes towards raising the status of Homoeopathy has remained passive. The fast forward movement of todays world demands planned marketing and advertisement to raise the level and public awareness about Homoeopathy. I would like to quote from a speech by Dr Schwartz during the International Congress in USA- "We are lazy and we alibi with professional ethics. We follow the path of least resistance preferring to be entertained, amused and letting George do the work. We are like the foolish virgins- we bury our talents and hide our candle under a bushel measure, keeping suffering humanity in the dark. It is our duty to go out and preach and advertise Homoeopathy. The medical profession is starving and at large want Homoeopathy but they dont know that they do".
All of us have witnessed the increasing awareness about AIDS, Drug Addiction and Sex Education in recent years. This is the result of smart social marketing. Inspite of the fact that public awareness about Homoeopathy is more important than anything else, we have lagged behind in our efforts to widely spread the benefits of this system. At the end of 200 years, Homoeopathy has still remained in the paediatric age having difficult teething and delayed milestones, partly due to irresponsible parenting by the practitioners. The time has come to out in combined efforts to raise the level of Homoeopathy.