National Doctors’ Day – Challenges and Way Ahead

National Doctors’ Day is observed in India every year on 1st July in honour of birth as well as death anniversary of Bharat Ratna Late Shri Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy. He was an eminent physician, freedom fighter and second chief minister of West Bengal. He is also considered as legendary architect of West Bengal.
BC Roy Award for Medicine is the highest honour given in India since 1973 and it is presented by President of India every year on July 1, National Doctors’ Day.
Let’s have some reality check during times of world-wide pandemic which has also hit our country. Medical professionals are over-worked, under-staffed and majority serve with limited resources. Number of doctors per million population in India is quite low compared to the developed world. Further, the situation is more alarming in Hindi heartland and states which are lagging behind in development.
The public spending on primary and preventive health is very dismal and now on reducing trend with regard to percentage of GDP. India’s health infrastructure needs to be augmented on war footing. The existing facilities require to be overhauled as they have been neglected and ignored for decades together, leading to severe deterioration in service and quality.
It will not be right to say that doctor-patient relationship has waned in last decade. Both sides are responsible for any loss of trust, if any. Is it because of treatment costs? Although India has low cost treatment compared to majority of countries, it is unaffordable to a majority of our own population. Healthcare should be made affordable for all. Inclusive participation need to be invigorated.
Medical practitioners in smaller towns with rural outreach are the main unsung heroes. They serve the needy, underprivileged and deprived population under very difficult situations in severe constraints and with limited resources. Their contributions should be acknowledged and appreciated by all medical associations at national level.
Young doctors must be given highest priority and care. They are centerpiece of any healthcare delivery system. Aged mostly between 25-35 years, they are over-worked and undoubtedly work beyond any humanly possible working hour limits. Further, the policy to compulsorily make junior doctors serve in remote locations without any support and resources is not very encouraging for the young ones quite at the beginning of the career.
Need of the hour is to establish an encouraging and forward looking hierarchy to suit the current requirements. It’s time to identify and accept what’s wrong with the current system and rectify them in tune with modern times. Further, senior practitioners need to fulfill their responsibility by coming forward and do the needful for guiding the juniors to meet the challenges.
Last year the theme was ‘Zero tolerance to violence against doctors and clinical establishment’. We are yet to achieve this theme. Young doctors are mostly at forefront of violence, with the state generally doing lip service every time any incident occurs.
During current times, it’s very easy to brand medical facilities and practitioners as being money minting and exorbitant and also negligent. This is one field where majority work with attitude of service taking huge personal risks. A few bad experiences should not be generalised to malign the entire hard working fraternity.
Majority of professionals in the Medical fraternity do work to see a smile on the face of their patient after recovery, discharge and during a revisit. We thrive to do our best to selflessly care and serve.

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