पाठ्यक्रम का दशक, परीक्षायें वृशक;
प्रेमाभिलाषी, रक्षक, मैं एक चिकित्सक ||
I am writing this post for the first ever chatter prompt: Health and this is going to be about the health system as a whole rather than just being about an individual. I hope its fine.
The doctors often end up at the receiving end of public’s fury or govt’s vote wooing policies or media’s one sided stories but what’s their side of the story? It is still only some mysterious speculation. The truth is that our healthcare system is as ruthless and unforgiving for the doctors as it is for the patients. Politicians and bureaucrats take up all the breathing space in the system and doctors remain crammed up in the corners. It takes their heart and soul to become a doctor over nearly ten grilling years of otherwise enjoyable youth to come face to face to their dreams But only a few of these dreams can survive in the real world.
The story starts with a young, energetic and ever hopeful medial aspirant who stumbles down the rabbit hole and wonders where he landed. Of the nearly 6 lakh aspirants entering the maze each year only a handful reach the treasure chest of super specialization (DM/Mch) only to realize that the treasure chest is empty and it has to be filled with even more hard work over the rest of their life. Nearly 10 years of study and nowhere to go. Most of the few jobs offered in government sector are contractual only and does not allow private practice along with many other unnecessary limitations. Stringent rules for small clinics and huge capital and time required to get settled is not everyone’s cup of tea. The private sector is rapidly going corporate ways with little scope for autonomy and more work per penny. The doctors are just trapped in a mess and only easy way out opens beyond the borders. It doesn’t mean doctors don’t earn enough but that there are very few options and leaving so much to chance after so much of hard work is demoralizing. Some leave for further studies, some for jobs and some just to get away but ultimately all are chasing their dreams only. It is ironical how India is promoting medical tourism and the doctors are leaving the country.
Doctors are being used as mere pawns for political gains. Poor planning and absurd interference in public health system by non medico administrators and illiterate politicians without consulting the experts is doing more harm than help. Already, nearly 75 per cent of India’s population is treated by quacks and such measures will only widen the rural-urban divide discriminating against rural folk, who are taken for second-grade citizens deserving medical care by a brigade of ‘qualified quacks’.
- Compulsory rural posting is just one such example. Yes it is a noble cause but the doctor has earned his right to make his own choice after all the time and hard work.
- Promoting state- acknowledged quackery by adding more cadre of workers who are neither here nor there:
- Shortened medical course at the graduate level to serve the rural areas.
- Bridge courses for nurses and alternative medicine professionals.
- Recognizing quacks and their practices.
- Gujarat is even letting school kids to act as doctors under school health schemes
- Negative media image for TRPs: Yes they go on a strike but not with the intention of killing someone but to fight for their own right to work in a safe and secure environment.
- Replacing MCI with pro-private sector National medical commission.
- Victimizing public health sector and sensationalizing private sector with freebees, i.e. poorly conceptualized mohalla clinics, polyclinics by Delhi government looting taxpayer’s money for short term political gains. (Public sector can be strengthened with a fraction of money being wasted)
Doctors are also humans but their superhuman hard work should not be overlooked. There are good and bad people in each and every profession and things need not be generalized for everyone. Please take a moment and try to understand what a person goes through to become a doctor and you will know what he deserves…
What needs to be done?
The two basic problems are: less doctors (The doctor-patient ratio in India is 1:1,700. The World Health Organization’s recommended criterion is 1:300.) And poor logistics (everybody knows). So,
- The need is to start more medical colleges. The country has nearly 300 colleges, of which 190 are in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Uttar Pradesh, with a population of 19 crores, has only about 16 colleges. Bihar, with a population of nine crores, has eight. If the State governments open medical colleges in all the districts, we can have nearly 600 medical colleges, rolling out nearly 75,000 MBBS graduates a year.
- Strengthening the infrastructure and facilities with incentives so that the doctors don’t shy away from rural areas.
Among all the negativity, a smile and a simple thank you is all that we seek:
धड़कानों की धुन पर गुनगुनाती, फिर कोई ज़िंदगी,
ख़ुशियों में डूबे कोई दिल, जो था कभी ग़मज़दा ;
रूखे से लब, थिरकते फिर ख़ुशी से मिलकर ,
जब रोम–रोम हो स्वस्थ और मर्ज़ ले विदा ;
भावुक मन, नम आँखें , करती हों जैसे इलतज़ा,
और मुस्काती –काँपती आवाज़, करती शुक्रिया अदा ;
है भाव विभोर ये तन और मन,
जैसे आ मिला हो स्वयँ ख़ुदा, ये रूह जैसे आबिदा…
This post for the first ever chatter prompt: Health.
I would love to hear what you have to say on this topic. See ya:-)