Corruption and Greed in the Medical Field in India Exposed by Aamir Khan
Will Aamir Khan become a change maker? His Sunday morning programme is closely watched by many in India. The country is passing through the worst phase in its history where corruption has become the accepted norm of the society. The medical field in this respect is no different as it is on a slippery slope of moral and ethical degradation.
In today's episode he exposed our private medical colleges charging huge capitation for admission, Medical Council of India not taking any punitive action against erring doctors, medical practitioners charging kick-backs from the diagnostic services and pharmaceuticals making mega-profits selling their medication. All this was a very poor commentary on the nobility of medical profession. Worst of all was the unnecessary hysterectomies conducted on women that he showed from a small hamlet in Andhra where most women were sans their uterus, thanks to some greedy gynecologists.
The small ray of hope was shown among all this gloom - the state sponsored health insurance schemes and the generic drugs sale by certain organizations to make healthcare affordable to the poor.
Medical profession in India has been in turmoil for the last decade. The education system needs a complete overhaul to say the least. The problem has been a lack of direction, leadership and a lack of vision by Medical Council of India . The organisation holds too many responsibilities and this needs to be decentralized and some division is required. The undergraduate and post-graduate education in the country in medical sciences should be divided between two separate bodies. Another body should be set up for ethical and legal affairs. Most of the current laws related to healthcare in India needs to be revisited and this will need constant interaction with home and law ministry. The government also needs to come up with another cadre like IAS for healthcare - maybe it can be called Indian Health Services (IHS), that will take up administrative responsibilities to run our healthcare . The current lot of bearcats sometimes fail to understand the complex dynamics of healthcare industry and some decisions that are taken are nothing short of disasters. The doctors are left alienated and are at times too scared to express their opinions in front of these bearcats as there is an intrinsic fear of getting transferred if they raise objection or criticise the opinion.
Like any other profession not all doctors are corrupt . The problem has stemmed from the rapid privatization of medical field and degradation of public hospitals. There is not one hospital in public sector you could name that has been run with any efficiency including hospitals such as AIIMS. The frustration among many doctors from public hospitals is apparent when you speak to them. The hospital fails to perform any advanced diagnostic or surgical procedure as either the equipment is not available or is not repaired. Most senior staff leaves by 1PM to start their private work and leave the hospital to be run by trainees or their juniors. Accountability is absent and this has become the acceptable way of life.
The rot has set in many years back, the challenge is going to be almost herculean to clean up the mess. Corruption, inefficiency, greed and to top it all the lack of a regulatory body makes it a free for all at the cost of the ailing patients . Satyamev Jayate can only expose these evils, only time will tell if the programme will make any difference. We wonder if next year Aamir will revisit these issues that he has taken up and see if any action was taken or like so many programme this too will just pass and we will remain where we are.