From the Pen of National President of Indian Medical Association
NATIONAL PRESIDENT IMA HQ 2022-23 SPEECH
Most revered chief guest of the ceremony Dr. Ketan Desai, Chief Patron, past president of World Medical Association, MCI &IMA whose persona defies all boundaries and one of the most respected personalities of the our fraternity.
Very versatile Immediate Past President IMA Dr. Sahajanand Prasad Singh, other dignities on the dais,my dear colleagues, guests, ladies and gentleman.
On behalf of organizing committee of National conference of IMA, I welcome you all to the holy city of Prayagraj.
Dear friends, in the functioning of Indian medical association, where transition is like a relay race, where every team works for the welfare of profession, the almighty has bestowed upon me to be the president of this august organization for 2022-23. The baton has been handed over to me to serve you all to the best of my capacity and capability. It is my great pleasure and proud privilege to stand here before you with the blessings of our mentor Dr. Ketan Desai and support of four lakh members of the association. As IMA is the only umbrella organization recognized by Indian government as representative of Doctors of modern medicine, we share the responsibility of not only speaking for the welfare of its members but also be a partnerof the government in healthcare delivery. While the country is coming out of the dreaded Covid, IMA as the biggest health professional organization of the world, is once again poised to mentor the healthcare system of the country, During Covid we lost our 2000 brethren in the service of the nation and proved again that our pledge to serve mankind is fully intense and committal. At this juncture, I am both excited and a bit apprehensive about IMA's role in uplifting the morale of our professionals. My predecessors have kept the flag of IMA high but there is still a daunting task to be accomplished. I accept it both as a challenge and an opportunity and look forward towards support from each and every doctor of the country. Our doctors bravely answered the call of duty risking their lives and their family members and managed to keep mortality to the minimum inspite of great challenges- a feat recognized by our honourableprime minister and infact by the entire world.
Working in India, given its huge population and limited resources is not easy. Per capita spending- though now improving under the present government,continues to be the lowest in the world. People forget that no other professionals work 24x7x365 days with same intensity, sincerity and passion of saving life as do the doctors of the India.
MY MISSION WILL BE: IMA FOR ALL- ALL FOR IMA
Friends, Members numbers give you strength. As of now about 35% of our graduates in the country are our members and we can become a force to reckon with making the remaining 65%, also a part of IMA - be it junior doctors, service doctors, specialists in any branch and friends working in corporates, villages and towns. Our voice will be loud and heard only when all speak the same language at the same time. We will be more assertive and strong when professionals in every nook and corner of the country contribute for the betterment of the doctors as well as community at large.
VIOLENCE : Violence against healthcare professionals should be stopped immediately and a strong central act against violence in any form- physical, mental, social or economic, on doctors should be made a criminal act under IPC and culprits should be punished under severe sections as in other heinous crime. We request to the central government to kindly bring a central legislation for the protection of healthcare providers as early as possible. There is no other country in the world where doctors face violence in the course of their duties and the perpetrators go scot free.
THE WORKING OF NATIONAL MEDICAL COMMISION SHOULD BE REVISITED
Mushrooming of medical colleges needs quality control and must maintain the quality standards in the form of infrastructure, faculties and quality education with adequate number of patients, but NMC is failing in carrying out adequate checks or quality control. Unfortunately, this will lead to poor quality of outcome and ultimately affect the citizens of India. Giving the responsibility of health care of the citizens of India in the hands of poorly trained doctors will spell disaster for the health of the nation as a whole.
I feel the Government should refrain from “copy paste” culture of bringing western world policies without understanding the negative impact on our healthcare delivery system. EXIT TEST will destroy the medical education system and invite more and more business houses to germinate coaching centre where medical students will only be preparing for NEXT, ignoring traditional practical training in the wards. The invaluable hands on training which was previously imparted, day and night, by teachers and seniors who taught the highest values of ethics and professional conduct will be missing. After NEXTstudents will hardly respect or listen to their teachers in medical college – we all remember the saying “Bhaiya Bin Preet Na hoi Gopala”.
On the one hand, the government is interested in only opening new medical colleges or converting government hospitals into medical colleges just to improve its indicator of increasing the doctor/patient ration, but little thought has been given to quality control by NMC. Predictably, this will result in huge inflation of medical education fee more than crores but what will happen, if after paying crores of fee by sale of their house or land or taking bank loans, due to the poor standard of education the student is unable to clear the EXIT test ? Who will be responsible for this bankruptcy of the parents and the medical students? The existing system of medical education has brought a lot of laurels to the country and our doctors are considered the best in the world by existing education system – why do we wish to destroy it by replacing it with a poorly thought out system of medical education? Government should seriously think over this aspect and should take IMA as permanent member/ stakeholder in their policy making committees as this will help in providing the best workable advice to the government and ultimately benefit the patients and indirectly, the political class.
Here I would also like to bring to the notice of the government that making students file bonds involving huge amounts running in lacks of rupees and forcing them into rural service will make it economically difficult for students of poor socioeconomic background to take up medicine as a career. Instead, vacancies in government hospitals should be filled by offering regular jobs to medical graduates rather than forcing them to work under mandated bonds.
The Government should also immediately take cognizance on problems faced by Indian students studying in foreign medical colleges - particularly in Ukrain and should allow online education till the war is going on as was done during Covid. It will help the students and their families here in India.
INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE (MIXOPATHY)
Our governments of the day are planning to introduce INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE and treatment protocols by 2030. Inspite of warnings by doctors of modern medicine the government through this populist move will do a dis service to the health of the public at large.
The Ministry of Health has reiterated its resolve to implement Integrative medicine. Integrative Medicine is better understood by the term Mixopathy which denotes mixing of all systems of medicine. Mixopathy has been adopted as a national policy through the National Education Policy itself. Khichadification of medical education seems to be the starting point. The purpose of integrating all systems of medicine is unknown. 650 Medical Colleges in the country are turning out 99,063 MBBS doctors every year. There is no case for pleading shortage of doctors.
During independence we had 40 crore people with a life expectancy of 27 years. Today we are 1.38 billion people with a life expectancy of 70. IMA legitimately claims the credit of this achievement to be rightfully belonging to modern medicine. Today India is free of small pox and polio because of vaccinations which is an achievement of modern medicine. We have nearly eradicated Measles, Mumps and tetanus apart from containing HIV, Tuberculosis and malaria. The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) and the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) have plummeted due to modern medical care. The dreaded Covid 19 pandemic was stopped on track by the vaccines of modern medicine.
Modern Medicine is evidence based. Double Blind Control studies and replicability in unbiased settings elsewhere are the sine qua non of modern medicine. It is impossible to mix different systems of medicine without catastrophic fallout on patient care and safety. The contradictions are self-evident. Today Indian modern medicine doctors are adequately skilled to perform any sophisticated surgery or procedure that India is a much sought-after destination for medical tourism. Indian modern medicine doctors are the backbone of several Health systems across the world including UK, Gulf, US and Australia.
China is the only country which practises integrative medicine. China is certainly not our model in Healthcare. Due to integration CTM (Chinese traditional medicine) has been decimated and is no longer practised in its pure form. Safeguarding the purity and legacy of Ayurveda will enrich our traditional medicine. Mixing of systems will ring the death knell of Ayurveda. The loss of lives and suffering due to this unscientific mixing will be phenomenal. Healthcare in India will be set back by a century.
The harm that will befall the nation due to mixing of systems will be profound. It is an anti-people policy and unfortunately this has not caught the imagination of the people. All MBBS doctors will be from Integrative medicine by 2030. That means these doctors will practise and administer drugs from all systems of medicine simultaneously. There will not be doctors from modern medicine alone as we know now. IMA appeals to people and the Government to understand the impact of this ill-advised decision. We expect the government to rethink their strategy.
CONFIDENCE BUILDING WITH GOVERNMENT OF THE DAY
Our parleys with the government should be business like so that the government takes our opinion seriously. Our demands like-
- • Creation of Indian Medical Service Carder
- • Implementation of Right to Health Act
- • Increase in health spending to minimum 5% of GDP.
- • CentralAct against violence at healthcare services
- • Re installation of Dr. BC Roy Awards
- • Exclusion of health services from CPA etc. should get logical support from government.
- • Exclusion of small nursing homes & hospitals up to 50 beds from Clinical Establishment Act
- • Inter-ministerial Committees for any decision of the government on health issues and its recommendations to be adopted immediately.
AYUSHMAN BHARAT- PMJAY
IMA appreciates this scheme of the government for providing free healthcare to more than 50 cr. population by an insurance scheme upto 5 lakh rupees. This can be a game changer for healthcare delivery in the country. But our demand for rationalizing the cost for treatment and regular revision of provider fee has not been fulfilled by the government. Because of abysmally lowtarrifs, private sector is reluctant to join the scheme. Government needs to revise the charges to make it sustainable by private players.
IMA FEDRAL STRUCTURE & WORKING
Dear friends, IMA is structured beautifully as Headquarter- State & Local branches model and their integration is must for working towards trust, prestige and glory of the profession. We have to strengthen by supporting our state and local branches for a cohesive and effective working. Our motivation should come from the farthest doctor of the country, culminating in effective state working to promote harmonious working at the centre. Our state branches should have a sustainable financial base system to be able to be strong enough to instill confidence in local branches.
The IMA calendar/ days should be celebrated by all the branches in the same spirit and uniform quality and this should be a major criteria for IMA awards along with membership growth. I will give this criteria 75% weightage while deciding awards.
All IMA branches should focus on the numbers and participation in their all function and meeting as a major standard of success. There is no point organizing activities with little or no participation and all the members should give their time to ÌMA activities, otherwise there is no point of massive membership. Please understand these are very difficult and challenging times for doctors and only our unity and togetherness can help us to survive.
Members and leaders at branches level, state and headquarter level should understand thatunlike politicians ÌMA election should not be treated as political election. We are an association and should elect our office bearers by consensus or unanimously. I agree that elections are important for any democratic civilization and it brings answerability but in association election do brings bitterness among us and become a cause of division. So those who really want to serve and work in association should join hands and work without any lust or greed for post. If we selflessly work, posts will automatically come our way. So we should have patience and work silently. We should stop infighting at all costs and we are already faced with many challenges without adding to them.
IMA functioning has to improved further to a next level and we will try our best to bring a white paper on each health related issues to help our members and people of India as we did during Covid to sensitize the citizen of India as well as the medical community of India about the different protocols of Covidtreatment, Oxygen uses, Vaccination etc .
This is a huge task recognized by IMA recently. We need to have a plan to groom young professionals especially from small towns to be able become leaders of tomorrow and take up the mantle. MSN and JDN have become forces of structure recently. We need to have training workshops to improve their skills in administration and management. They should be emboldened to take decisions- ultimately they will lead us.
IMA Medical Student Network (MSN) and IMA Junior Doctors Network (JDN) is our future and frontline warrior. All MSN and JDN units should take advantage of the huge professional experience and contacts of the members of ÌMA. I wish to emphasize that ÌMA at all level is there to help them in studies and carrier guidance. MSN/ JDN should maintain a high standard in their public life as an Ambassadors of ÌMA. They should focus in increasing membership as they can give a huge boost to increasing membership. As we all know very well, strength comes from numbers.
WINGS OF IMA
Indian Medical association has various Academic, Cultural and Social service WINGS. They are all doing great job but we need to have integration amongst them to avoid duplicating the efforts and increase their reach throughout the country. We should have a system whereby members can join any of these with maximum benefits. Some of these wings need to be more transparent and aggressive.
All the wings of ÌMA should work to strengthen the ÌMA and extend the aims and objectives of ÌMA. They should work under ÌMA at all levels be it branch, state or HQ level.
INDIAN MEDICAL SERVICE CARDER
The creation of INDIAN MEDICAL SERVICE carder has been our long standing demand. Infact this idea was moved by the government several years back. The need has become much more important now as there is disparity of facilities, infrastructure, pay scales and promotion of healthcare professionals in the country. We need technical administrators to give maximum impetus to the healthcare delivery system to the country.
I am sure it will attract more and more quality, excellent, meritorious doctors to join like other carders and ultimately give a boost to our healthcare delivery system at all levels.
SCHEMES OF IMA
IMA has various member welfare and family pension schemes in various part of the country. They should be integrated and made available throughout the country through education and persuasion. We should continuously communicate about different welfare schemes to all the members through state and branch and should make these schemes more efficient by joining more and more members in it.In the end, I assure you that I as the captain of the team will seek guidance and directions from all my seniors and involvement of each and every member during this year. Our team at headquarter, states and local branches will work coherently to make the year a memorable one.
I once again seek your cooperation by continuing the excellent work in medical field and make sure to make health care affordable to every citizen and strengthening the hands of our Government by participating in its all programmes and make sure that no one denied treatment on economical ground and take this as an additional moral duty towards our nation without expecting anything in return.
I always believe in working as a team & my objective will be “ONE FOR ALL & ALL FOR ONE”…………a cohesive collective enhance communicative approach to break all sectorial walls and bring all clinicians at one platform to help in building a Healthy Nation.
- JAI HIND,JAI BHARAT
LONG LIVE IMA
- Dr. Sharad Kumar Agarwal
National President, IMA (HQs)