New Delhi, Jul 1(ILNS) Chief Justice of India NV Ramana today lauded the role of Doctors for the society and said, this decade is defined by the healing touch and the sacrifices made by our doctors. While the world is still reeling under the devastating impact of the pandemic, our doctors have been tirelessly and selflessly fighting against the deadly pandemic. The Indian Medical Association’s data suggests that more than 798 doctors have lost their lives in the deadly second wave. My heart felt prayers and sympathies go out to the families of those medical professionals and healthcare workers who have lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I consider the first of July to be an auspicious day. Auspicious because, on this day, in the name of Doctors’ Day, we recall the unparalleled services of the living Gods and Goddesses known as doctors. At the risk of annoying other professionals including those in my own profession, I venture to say that no other professional is capable of rendering the services as valuable as those offered by doctors. On this occasion, I pay my humble tributes to Dr. B C Roy in whose honour the Doctors’ Day came to be celebrated in India, Justice Ramana said.
Lauding the role of doctors in the present situation, the CJI said, this pandemic has not only strained our physical resources, but also has taken a toll on our mental health. Owing to the nature of the disease itself, thousands of doctors and health care workers have been separated from their families during these difficult times. No amount of medical training or experience can ever prepare anyone to go through the psychological ordeals of the pandemic. But, time itself is a testimony of your healing touch.
When thousands of physically and emotionally vulnerable patients stood isolated in their hospital wards, it was the doctors who kept the hope alive even in the times of despair. Unless you see them working personally, you can not visualise the discomfort of being in PPE kits non-stop for 24 hours in day and some time even for days together with no rest proper food.
While launching the “Defeat Diabetes Campaign”, on occasion of the doctors day on Thursday, Justice Ramana said, I need not explain, how diabetics, particularly juvenile diabetics, suffer from the disease. Dr. Vasanth Kumar, who is in our midst, who is an upright doctor known for his plain speaking, started DAY (Diabetes and You) Society, which supports the children who are suffering with Type-I diabetes by conducting health care and check-ups. His service to humanity is highly appreciable.
Doctors and researchers have aptly described diabetes as an “opportunistic killer”. Today it affects people across all classes and age groups. This alarming increase, calls for immediate attention of all concerned. Data reveals that India has the highest number of Diabetes patients with 65 million Indians being diabetic. What is even more shocking is that nearly 8% of the population above 18 years of age is suffering from the disease.
These numbers are projected to increase to 101.2 million by 2030. Here, one must pause and question the implication of the same, over the already strained Indian healthcare system. These issues call for formulating public healthcare policies surrounding the prevention and management of diabetes in India based on intense scientific research.
However, the path is not easy. Studies have proven that knowledge and awareness about diabetes is very less in India. The degree of awareness is negligible in rural areas and amongst the vulnerable classes. The need of the hour is to bridge this gap in awareness regarding the disease, its prevention and management.
This is where the campaigns and movements such as today’s event assume great importance. It is essential to evolve methods that suit Indian context. The vacuum created by lack of awareness leads to larger complications which is invariably filled by myths. Myths such as ‘those who eat more sugar get sugar disease’, ‘women are immune to diabetes’; ‘only obese people get diabetes’; ‘diabetes is contagious’ etc. Where there is room for myths, there is room for quackery and quackery is the biggest disease that
is affecting India. Where the awareness ends, the quackery begins. Due to lack of awareness and resources, people tend to fall for ‘easy solutions’ offered by the quacks. The unscientific solutions offered by the quacks push the people into deeper troubles ultimately leading to additional burden on the individuals as well as public healthcare system.
Given the enormity of the challenge, it is essential to design diabetes awareness campaigns in the scale of anti-tobacco and pulse polio campaigns. To match the rise in awareness, the medical infrastructure needs to be augmented for testing, monitoring, guidance and cure.
I know, for a country of our size with huge backwardness and poverty it is going to be huge task. This disease is a costly one for those who fall victim to it. Right from testing to treatment, at every stage the patient has to shell out substantial amounts. Very few can afford such expenses. If this disease is to be tackled effectively, the State has to step in, in a big way.
A comprehensive policy framework needs to be put in place where the awareness campaign is also part of ‘diabetes eradication programme’. For the programme to be successful, the same has to be integrated into a free and universal public health care system. Left to individuals, we will never reach the goal. Huge economic losses inflicted by the pandemic on our country and the globe as a whole should wake us up to the reality that there is no substitute for free and universal public health care system with focus on disease prevention.
What we say in Telugu, “aarogyame mahabhagyam” is said in every language. Health is Wealth. It is the universal truth. Any investment is justified to acquire this wealth because only a healthy nation can become a wealthy nation.
Before I conclude, the CJI said, “I would like to leave you with a few facts and few thoughts for all the stakeholders to ponder over. It is saddening that our doctors are being brutally attacked while on duty. Why is it that the medical professionals are at the receiving end for someone else’s failure?”
Issues such as insufficient number of medical professionals, infrastructure, medicines, outdated technologies, and government not giving priory to medical sector are issues of immediate concern. It is a fact that tradition of family doctor is vanishing.
Why is it that the profiteering by corporates and investors is being blamed on doctors? It is saddening to see good and qualified doctor can not start a decent hospital of his own and survive. Even after 8 to 9 years of rigorous learning, doctors struggle to get decent
salaries. The medical bodies and concerned agencies in the government have to put
their heads together to address these concerns. Only then can we sincerely greet the doctors on the first of July every year.
The CJI filled with emotions said, I would like to sign off with a moving thought penned by a young medical professional from the Unites States Ms. Lizzy whose words reflect the pain which we all have been witness to: Watching you suffer is destroying my heart, We healthcare workers are falling apart. When I get dressed for work, it’s not just a job, When I lose another patient, it’s in my car that I sob. You see I am human, I bleed just like you, And with each death that I witness, a part of me dies too./ILNS/KR/SNG