Featured image courtsey : Sridhar’s drawing book youtube.

Re-imagining the Speech of Jawaharlal Nehru from a viewpoint of healthcare in today’s times.

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny when we took the Hippocrates
oath, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in
full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when
the world sleeps, as doctors we remain awake to ensure that patients wake up
the next day alive and to freedom from the hospital.

At the dawn of the country’s independence,  India started on her unending quest, and trackless decades which are filled with her striving for the healthcare  of her citizens. Through good and ill fortune alike there have been times she has lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which go towards making a healthy country.

Over the years there have been  achievements in the field of healthcare that we can  celebrate today , but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements  await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity amidst the ongoing pandemic and accept the challenges of redefining healthcare in the country.

Freedom and a growing economy bring responsibility. The responsibility rests upon the governments –Central and states and elected representatives of this sovereign country to ensure that health for all anywhere anytime becomes a reality.  Over the years  since the birth of freedom, we have endured all the pains of ill health: epidemics, malnutrition ,  infant and maternal mortality rate, tuberculosis, polio, malaria and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now.

That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer from ill health or cannot access healthcare . It means the ending of ignorance about health and healthcare delivery.

The ambition of some of the greatest doctors of our generation has been
to cure every single disease. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are
tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.

It should not be a dream anymore but a reality that must materialise
soon. Health administration in this country must be decentralised to the
healthcare fraternity or those passionate about public health . Creation of a
robust Indian medical service (IMS) along the path of IAS would probably go a
long way in strengthening the public health system of the country. The reality
of a doctor surrounded by a cadre of support staff- nurses and grassroot level
workers able to deliver healthcare to the masses with the aid of technology to
function more efficiently in maintaining records, follow up and tracking must
be achieved at the earliest.

A nation cannot
and should never ignore its frontline warriors. Be it on the borders or
essential services like healthcare, the welfare and security of its guardians
must be of paramount importance. There has to be absolutely no leniency shown
to those who raise violence against healthcare workers. Strict legal framework
must not only exist but also be implemented by the guardians of law to protect
the healthcare worker to enable that they work without fear and in true

We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be- healthy citizens. To achieve this, the system that moulds a doctor/healthcare worker needs to be looked at. The focus has to continually shift from an archaic regulated medical education system to one that is more open, continually adapting to the modern day needs. Along with an emphasis on research and evidence based medicine , a system that rewards innovation and patient-centric approach with  focus on the humanities, communication skills and other soft skills must be part of the curriculum. The need of the hour of the country is Clinician scientists and Clinician inventors. We are sending satellites and manned space flights to moon. Let there be no delay in dreaming that in 2 decades from now, the Nobel prize in medicine would be bagged by Indians working in Indian institutes, finding answers and  scoring victories against some of the most dreaded medical battles.  We cannot lose some of our finest minds and hard working hands to foreign lands. Instead we need to create an environment to retain them along with  MAKE IN INDIA, we have to promote STAY IN INDIA.

We are all
healthcare workers of a great country, on the verge of bold advance, and we
have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever medical college or
speciality or state we may belong, are equally the healthcare workers  of India with equal rights, privileges and
obligations. We cannot encourage narrow-mindedness, or prejudice or biases or
discrimination in our field for no nation can be great whose people are narrow
in thought or in action.

To India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service. Jai Hind .

Dr.Nitin Yashas is a medical oncology resident and co-founder of TREAT by ALTERDOCTORS

Featured image courtesy : Sridhar’s drawing book