The homoeopathy system in Sri Lanka
The homoeopathic system of medicine is traditionally known for its safety and cost effectiveness. This system was introduced in Sri Lanka way back in 1906, by Capt. R.T Samaraweera, a Cadet Master, Royal College, Colombo. Since then, great masters like Dr. D. V. Walpola MBBS, MF (Lond), District Medical Officer, Chilaw and Dr. C.V.S Corea had contributed to its growth and development. In fact, it could be said that Dr. Siddharth Corea is the person who placed a road map of development of classical homoeopathy in the country.
Homoeopathy is a simple system of medicine developed by a German physician, Dr. S. Hahnemann (1755-1843) in the early 19th century. It is based on a therapeutic principle of treating diseases with drugs that in a healthy person would produce symptoms like those of the disease. Apart from its strength in curative medicine, there are well laid down principles and practices on preventive, promotive and rehabilitative aspects of health care. Dr. Hahnemann was a great linguist, chemist and an acclaimed physician of his time. He observed that practical medicine had devised three ways of applying remedies for the relief of disorders of the human body. The first method is that of removing or destroying the causes of malady, that is, preventive treatment. The second and most common, contraria contraries, that is healing by opposites such as treatment of constipation by laxatives. Similia similibus is a way of applying a remedy to diseases which can produce symptoms as similar as possible to that of a natural disease. He agreed with the concept of prevention of diseases as the best option for preservation of health, however, postulated that the similia principle is the best and natural option for the management of diseases especially those of chronic in nature. This forms the cardinal principle of homoeopathy.
Homoeopathy is being practised in all the continents either as an independent system or as a complementary alternative form of medicine. Within a short span of a little over 200 years of its origin, the system has been able to muster popularity and official patronage in a number of countries.
The system is practised in Sri Lanka in a very modest way. Under the able guidance of Minister for Indigenous Medicine, Tissa Karaliyadda, the system got an impetus in the recent past. He has taken several initiatives to develop this system in the country. As this is the most cost effective health care option and safe from severe drug side effects, the demand for this treatment is increasing. The government has established the Homoeopathic Hospital at Welisara, on the outskirts of Colombo. The Out Patient wing of the hospital functions from 8.30 am onwards on all working days. The hospital is expected to start its inpatient wing shortly.
A large number of patients attend the free clinic there. Most of the patients are those who tried other forms of treatment with less or little relief.
Homoeopathy is very popular amongst the children because they like the taste and simplicity of the medicines.
Homoeopathy does not claim to be an alternative to the existing health care concepts and practices. But the fact remains that no one system can manage all the health care needs of the society and every system of medicines have their own areas of strength and also weaknesses.
The dominant system like allopathy has effective treatment options in the management of acute infections, accident and emergencies, surgical conditions etc. The same is the case with ayurveda which is known for lifestyle diseases, articular complaints etc. Like this, homoeopathy has unique strength in the treatment for allergic disorders, respiratory complaints, gastro intestinal problems, skin diseases, behavioural problems etc.
It has also effective medicines to detoxify some of the side effects caused due to medications, wrong living, alcohol and other addictions etc. Apart from this the popularity of the system is increasing as an adjuvant treatment along with other systems in the management of cancer pain, drug resistant tuberculosis, improving the quality of life of HIV/AIDs etc. Some of the common problems like tonsillitis, sinusitis, warts, corns, fistulas and piles etc. which are commonly managed in other systems through surgical measures are effectively treated safely with homoeopathic medicine. In homoeopathy, constitutional medicines are prescribed whereby not only the infection is controlled, but its frequent recurrence is stopped.
A peaceful co-existence of all the systems in the health care delivery scenario shall be the most ideal proposition for the public. This will facilitate an option to them to avail the treatment they want. The greatest difficulty Sri Lankan faces today is absence of any teaching institutions for homoeopathy. Recently there are some efforts to establish homoeopathic medical colleges in Sri Lanka. With this it is possible that the Sri Lankans who are going to India and Pakistan to study this system may find it easy to learn here.
(Information from Homoeopathy Hospital, Welisara)