Around a million doctors in India went on a day-long strike on Friday, amid the coronavirus pandemic, to protest against a recently passed federal government rule that allows practitioners of the traditional science of Ayurveda to perform minor surgeries. Thousands of non-critical surgeries and routine check-ups were stalled across the country when the Indian Medical Association (IMA) planned a walkout against the new rule, suspending health care work for 12 hours.
“All non-essential consultations and surgeries from morning until evening on Friday were suspended, ” said Rajan Sharma, the head of IMA, adding that the strike would not affect treatment to Covid-19 patients.
Post-graduate practitioners of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of medicine, were allowed to perform certain surgeries. The notification listed 39 general surgery procedures and around 19 procedures involving the eye, ear, nose and throat.
Sharma said the IMA had written to the government against the new rules but was awaiting a response. India’s AYUSH ministry, which promotes Ayurveda and passed the rule, has also no yet responded to a request for comment.