Uttar Pradesh is planning to integrate ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, yoga in government hospitals and primary health centres.
The programme, officials here told IANS, would be funded under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
In the first phase, an official said, yoga and a therapeutic healthcare option would be tested in 27 districts and would later be integrated with a parallel health plan that includes other systems of medicines such as unani, homoeopathy and ayurveda.
The project has been allocated Rs.25 crore, with the money also being utilised to purchase and distribute ayurvedic, unani and homoeopathic medicines.
The programme would be available at all government district hospitals, primary health centres (PHCs) and community health centres (CHCs).
The experiment would not only be keenly watched but would also be pathbreaking, an official said.
"Till now, the basis of all healthcare was largely the allopathic system. Something like this is being tried for the first time," an official said.
There are more than 3,500 PHCs and 600-plus CHCs in Uttar Pradesh. Now, they would have full-time and some part-time experts from the parallel systems of medicine.
Medicines, equipment and literature on the parallel systems would also be purchased.
While there are more than 3,000 doctors and pharmacists related to ayurveda, homoeopathy and yoga, sources say they are usually under-utilised.
"We hope things would change with the funding and clarity of focus," Rajeev Sharma, a homoeopath, said.
NRHM Director Mukesh Meshram admitted there could be "practical problems" in integrating parallel streams into the core healthcare system, but said: "Not only yoga, homoeopathy and ayurveda, we will also be promoting naturopathy."
Recently, the state government undertook a study on the effectiveness of homoeopathic treatment of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES).
If the results were useful in combating the disease, this could be taken up in a phased manner.
"Homoeopathy's successful battle against encephalitis in some AES-afflicted districts of Andhra Pradesh was studied and its assimilation in the state's initiative against AES was explored," an official said.
A proposal in this regard has been sent to the health department.
Earlier, a detailed study of the AES strains was undertaken in the Gorakhpur division and experts had suggested that the disease be treated with the "slow induction of homoeopathic medicines such as Baladona 100, 200 and Tuberculum," the official added.
Experts say the homoeopathic treatment may help in not only combating AES post-contraction but preventing its spread.