The recent instances
of sex-selective abortions being facilitated by doctors, and ward boys turning
doctors have certainly cast a question on the credibility and future of the
health care system in India. And it was to address such concerns that the
doctors and health personnel in Tamil Nadu gathered at the TN Health Summit
2012, held on 14th July at Chennai.
New Frontiers in Medicine
The focus of the
summit, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industries, included a range
of topics including the role of IT and technology in medicine, green hospitals,
reforms in healthcare management, biomedical waste management and qualitative
and affordable health care. It was attended by eminent doctors and health
department personnel from across the state, who suggested methods to improve
the health care situations in the state. Also, a 'White Paper' containing these
suggestions to be submitted to the state government was modeled.
Some of the delegates
who graced the occasion were Ms. Girija Vaidyanathan IAS, Principal Secretary,
Health and Family Welfare, TN, Dr. Anand Zacharia, Professor, Christian Medical
College, Vellore and Dr. S. Chandrakumar, Managing Director, Kauvery Hospitals.
Bakthavathsalam, a panelist and the Chairman of a Coimbatore-based private
hospital, said, "The government hospitals have a huge dearth of infrastructures
such as bed and medicine. In rural areas, the patients are redirected by the
hospital authorities more than thrice, even in emergency situations. In addition,
there is the lack of skilled professionals. Though news paper reports claim
every year that a huge number of students opt medicine as a career, the reality
is that for every thousand people, there are only 0.7 beds, 0.6 doctors and 0.8
nurses. Such crippling situation needs to be mended."
Community Medicine Less Glamorous
Such situation arises
because more students prefer to take up jobs in private hospitals as
specialists like neurosurgeons or cardiac surgeons and do not prefer fields
such as community medicine as they appear less glamorous. This situation can be
sorted if there exists pay parity, said another doctor who desired anonymity.
"If a neurosurgeon does one surgery a day and is paid a heavy amount, why
cannot the others, who treat hundreds of people and prevent them from
developing complications, be paid the same amount? The professors should also
motivate their students to take up community medicine as viable career option,
and the community should stop selective glorification in medical profession."
Preventive Medicine - The Way Forward
Suggesting a way to excel in the area of basic
health care, Dr. Bhakthavathsalam said "Preventive medicine is the best
approach. It is best to nip off the illness in the start than let it grow and
then try curing it. In countries such as China, that is the prevalent practice.
And this preventive medicine should be done in every private and government
hospitals, and should be free to the poor. Health care must be incentivized"