Rewind yourself by 200 years when Dr Hahnemann discovered Homeopathy. He was earning pretty well but due to call of his conscience he had quit his practice and rest is history.
The first time I went to State LBSH Medical College in Prayagraj, to get admission, tears welled my eyes. The building was in shambles with thatched roof and cattle shed against one of its well worn wall. The only sound audible was mooing of cows and buffaloes.
What was more disappointing was the fact that lot of all my seniors and colleagues were occupied in different trades. While one was working in Post office, another one had to take care of family business. Few were teaching in coaching centers while a good number were preparing for civil services. For almost all of them college and Homeopathy were part time engagements. They would occasionally visit once in a while to have tea with clerks and chit chat without even a hint of serious studies.
It was more than two decades ago. Today we get better students who work harder than their predecessors. But still there are few UG students who are enrolled in multiple courses or coaching centers, who still have zero attendance in college and manage to give exams in Homeopathy and manage to pass. If they fail at everything else in life, they practice Homeopathy and at times with success. One such student from my batch was so insignificant during college, due to his poor presence and academic record, that I couldn’t even recognize him or recall his name. He was introduced me as one of highest earning Practioners of Homeopathy.
It did not baffle me as there are lots who buckle up later and earn really well. What’s important is whether they are able to contribute anything to Homeopathy, the minting machine. We still come across random influencers on social media mocking Homeopathy with phrases such as meethi goli, placebo therapy, ek doctor ke pas sabka ilaaj etc. Then there are Lancets et al fueled by Corporate Pharma giants, ready to rip you off.
Do any of you think your flashy cars, swanky handsets, designer clothes or high rise you dwell in, will be able to shut any mouths. No they will not. Such things impress a small section of patients and people around. The rest will only want you to deliver results.
Remember Dr Hahnemann was all alone when he started practicing Homeopathy. So definitely we do not need great numbers. For Homeopathy to be medicine of 21st century, we need quality Homeopaths, however few they are. To meet Dr Hahnemann patients used to walk miles and miles on foot. So will they flock to any quality Homeopath, no matter which Himalayan cave they can be Practice in.
Therefore it’s high time we have an exit exam aka a test to check what a student has actually learnt through all professionals of the course. We definitely need it more than MBBS because no one bats an eye if a MBBS doctor commits negligence. But the entire blame shifts on Homeopathy, the moment a Homeopath is wrong with diagnosis, prognosis etc.
The exit exam is as important for PG students as for UG. For latter to weed out all the non serious students for whom Homeopathy is the last option. For the former to deliver the best Homeopaths, who can put a stop to any allegation or nonsense with their magic elixir. The PG is last stage of learning. For all their research studies CCRH has a booklet for case taking with over a hundred questions. A SRF takes at least two hours to complete it during the first visit of the patient. That’s not all. On subsequent visits, the time for follow up and review may take anywhere between 10 minutes to hours. Surely a tedious job. But if a student practices case taking, analysis, repertorisation etc this CCRH way from 2nd Prof, by the time they exit the college after internship, everything is at their fingertips and in busy practice most of the time they wont need to look into the book or refer a computer. The mind is trained and selecting a similimum becomes a reflex action.
Regarding the PG students it is assumed that they are already well versed with the CCRH protocol. Now their next step is to identify a patient through kingdom, subkingdom, family, group etc. They should be able to assess the layer and miasm while taking a case. Homeopathy is essentially first a science and then art. There is nothing like guess work, feeling, hunch, intuition or akkad bakkad in Homeopathy. Coming to a similimum is absolutely mathematical just as 2+2=4.
Now coming to the next part of how to do it as there shouldn’t be an Exit Exam without proper studies. For that whats most important is updation of teachers on a regular basis. Attending CME is a good idea but how many teachers are able to actually do so ? The best way would be to have online updation lectures the way we have on platforms like EDX, Alison etc. There are video lectures, followed by online short assessments in the form of MCQs. When a student finishes the tests correctly they go to the next lesson and then they are awarded the certificate or degree they appeared for. All the top Universities of the world are providing their courses in this way which is so flexible and convenient, as the student decides when to study and when to appear for the tests.
With all due respect to all the teachers of Homeopathy or otherwise, it won’t be wise to believe that a senior does not need updation. It is said that in Allopathy go to a younger doctor, as they are fresh and updated. Each time I come across Harrisons Practice of Medicine, there is altogether a new coloured cover, meaning another edition. For Homeopathy they say go to the older one as for the Art part of Homeopathy, experience is more important. But for the science part one will always need regular updation. So even the teachers can learn time to time from online modules, so that they are able to give students what they deserve.
Secondly students too should be able to give feedback regarding their teachers. It cannot be a one way traffic that only a teacher gets to complain about the student and not vice versa. Students critique should be equally important and without bias. Rather all the teachers should initially be contractual only. Once they successfully are able to teach the students for sometime, then only they should be inducted as permanent ones. Again that’s because a teacher might be very knowledgeable, but not able to make a student understand. So they will have to work on their communication skills.
For students what matters the most is self study. Nothing compared to that as a lot of IAS being selected got through because of self study alone. Of course a college, OPD and teaching is important, but at the level of PG they can only give an outline but the study has to be done by the student only. But they will be able to give the outline only when they know themselves as there’s great deal of materia medica of yesterday and today.
My students who had been very cross in last few days were unable to answer how a case study and essentially a research paper will be published if the protocol of CCRH, maybe with some laxity, is not followed in colleges. More so in Government Colleges as here the students get stipened, which you get out of taxpayers money. Wont you give anything back to Homeopathy, to the society except a copied Thesis ?
How do you think will we have new subjects for PG in Homeopathy if you don’t research on Dentistry, Veterinary, Gynaecology, Renal Failure, Cancer, Liver Cirrhosis etc. If everyone will opt for safe practice and topics such as Allergic Rhinitis what will be stored in future for poor patients and future students ?
We are enchanted by single medicine cures in conferences. But now its your turn to create that wizardry in everyday OPD. That does not happen by some magic spell but by hard work. In case of PG students more than half of the work is already done as they excel in theoretical knowledge of Homeopathy and allied subjects. They only need little guidance and some serious teaching and few hundred more cases to take, than they did in UG.
I have stated several times that during the UG coursework if a student takes even 2000 cases, that’s nearly one case a day, then too the future of Homeopathy will be very different. On an average, in my OPD, there are at least detailed discussion of 5 to 6 cases, which are taken in detail by UG, repertorised under guidance of a PG and then medicine is prescribed. That’s how we were able to manage 20 year old depression with Calcarea Ars, Cough of two years with Staphysagria, Ankylosing spondylitis with Silicea, IUGR and threatened abortion with Calcarea flour. In all these cases the medicines were suggested by 2nd and 3rd UG students after much brainstorming but the results were outstanding.
This hardly leaves any scope to practice Homeopathy in the shorter Allopathic way. Practice makes a man perfect. So will a Homeopath be perfected. And if one learns the art of finding the similimum, sky is the limit.