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
AdvertisementThe 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.
Dr. G. 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." he said.
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"