One true and consistent hero of pandemic is the doctor. Celebrating Doctors’ Day calls for more than social media posts and long speeches by leaders of a nation in gratitude. 420 doctors lost their lives in India’s second wave of Covid-19. They died serving others. They died doing their jobs. The country needs to do its job too in service of those who continue to serve us against all odds. This Doctors’ Day, let there be no showering of petals by helicopters or other balcony ceremonies to thank them. Instead, let us thank them in kind. India must unveil a plan to make doctors safer, their families secure and their tribe to grow.
India needs doctors to not be denied insurance as their job entails high risk. India needs doctors to go home to their families for dinner, knowing there is an equally capable hand still at work back in the hospital. India needs doctors available across the country preferring to stay in the country rather than migrating abroad.
Can we celebrate Doctors’ Day with a commitment to increase their tribe through merit, education, and scholarship? Governments can spend billions in creating healthcare infrastructure, but money cannot produce doctors. The government must create the ecosystem to make quality medical education accessible to deserving students. Cutthroat competition produces great doctors but in small numbers. Meritorious students who miss the mark find viable overseas universities to accept them. Many never return.
For those who do graduate, starting a private practice becomes a norm at some stage in their careers. Investing in a private clinic is an expensive affair too, given the specialised equipment many branches of medicine require. This makes doctors charge exorbitant fees, thus eliminating a large section of society to avail their services.
This Doctors’ Day, can the government offer interest-free loans to set up private medical infrastructure to qualified doctors and cap their fees to make them affordable for all?
This Doctors’ Day, public hospitals need to be populated with real doctors with real degrees and real experience. Not paper documents and influential references. District-level accountability is a must in every state. No hospital should have unfilled vacancies.
As a nation – we should thank doctors every single day. They have saved someone we know, someone we love – not just during the pandemic.
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