Holistic approach to improve community health – The AYUSH approach: Experiences from peri-urban areas of Bangalore

Summer 2015
S Manasi & KV Raju

S Manasi
Associate Professor, Centre for Research in Urban Affairs, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
Since my childhood I have taken simple home remedies for minor ailments. Hence, I am always inclined towards healing processes that are close to nature.When I visited an ayurvedic doctor as a child, I was given a one page note indicating the ‘dos and don’ts’ for good health and wellbeing. Interestingly apart from the physical aspects of healthcare, the list contained points on emotional health indicating conscious living by curtailing emotions like anger, hatred, jealousy, and to keep calm, meditate and so on. Although it did not register much in my mind, then, I realise that it indicated stress management principles. So, introduction to holistic health is part of growing up in India. But this is dying wisdom and providing healthcare access in India is a challenge with exorbitant costs affecting millions, particularly the poor.
KV Raju
Experiences of simple healing methods, yoga, and preventive health care practices have always appealed to me. Erroneous practices of healthcare, wrong food habits, and sedentary lifestyle have overridden simple remedies, placing a huge burden on our economy and affecting quality of life. I have been one of the members of the core committee of the AYUSH programme initiative at the state government and was keen to see if the intervention was transforming people’s lives locally and appealed to the community at large.The study certainly motivated me, showing that interventions would work well at the ground level if the right approaches were adopted.


In India 60% of the population has no access to mainstream healthcare. Although traditional systems of medicine have been around for thousands of years, their integration is rare.This pilot project suggests traditional medicine may be a viable option for improving the health of rural communities.

First Paragraph

Healthcare is the right of every individual but in India the lack of infra- structure and qualified professionals, as well as poor access to basic medi- cines and facilities, thwarts its reach to about 60% of the population. (Vyasulu and Vijayalakshmi 2003). The health status of Indian people and the healthcare services available to them are issues of great concern (Peters et al 2002).