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Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai November 30 , 2021
As many as 22 traditional folk healers in the rural areas of Kannur district in Kerala have been shortlisted for certifying their knowledge and skill under the Voluntary Certification Scheme for Traditional Community Healthcare Providers (VCS-TCHP) as part of the revitalization programme of local health traditions launched by the Ministry of Ayush.

The voluntary certification scheme is implemented by the Quality Council of India (QCI) across the country in association with third party assessment and evaluation bodies in each state. QCI has put a set of criteria for assessing the competence of the healers with regard to their practices.
In Kerala, QCI has assigned Thiruvananthapuram based NGO, the Centre for Trade Testing and Certification of skilled workers (CTTC) to conduct the evaluation. As part of it, CTTC conducted a three-day evaluation study on the traditional folk healers’ knowledge and skills to prove their competence in managing health problems of the rural folk. All the healers, generally called ‘gram vaidyas’, have been treating illness for centuries based on tradition of local health practices. CCTC will forward the evaluation report to the QCI which will certify the competence of the traditional healers.
P Mohan Nair, CEO of the CCTC, said the traditional knowledge of the folk healers is not recognized in our healthcare delivery system and this certification scheme will help them practice in their specialized areas. Each vaidya will be given a certificate by the QCI on the basis of the report of CCTC and it is valid for five years only. He can continue with his healing practice on the specific area of treatment using local health traditions.
In Kannur the assessment and evaluation programme was conducted on November 24, 25 and 26. QCI assigned its empanelled technical expert, Dr T Thirunarayanan of Chennai to monitor the assessment and evaluation being carried out by CCTC. Under his supervision two teams of trained evaluators comprising Ayurveda doctors and masseurs visited the healers in their houses and observed the demonstrations   they gave about their treatments. Dr. Thirunarayanan said all the folk healers have good knowledge in traditional health practices and they deserve recognition.
The teams of evaluators included three Ayurveda doctors from the state capital and technical staff of the CTTC.   Dr. Neethu, an evaluator and ayurvedic practitioner at Agasthya Ayurveda Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, said these folk healers are mere community healthcare providers who got the traditional indigenous knowledge through several generations. They are authorized to practice in the specified areas using the traditional knowledge, but not supposed to manage all kinds of ailments.
The technical expert, Dr Thirunarayanan said the traditional healers of Kannur district treat for common illnesses like fever, jaundice, rheumatoid arthritis, poisonous bites, bone settings, etc. The healers provide folk medicines prepared by them to their patients. The evaluation and assessment study was conducted in the rural areas of Chemperi, Pulikurumpa, Mayyil and Mangadu in Thalipparamba Taluk. 

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