Vice President Calls Mandatory Rural Service for Healthcare
The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu said that serving in rural areas should be made mandatory before giving the first promotion to doctors in the government sector.
Speaking at the 11th Annual Medical Teachers’ Day Awards function here, the Vice President said that three-to-five years’ service in the rural areas for young doctors was essential while pointing out that 60 per cent of the country’s population lives in the villages.
Describing the medical profession as a noble mission, he advised the doctors not to give any remission or commit omission, but to serve the nation with passion. Asking the doctors to remember the core value of compassion for humanity in all their actions, he said “let that be your moral compass when in dilemma and always adhere to the highest level of ethics. If you can serve with a spirit of selfless dedication, you derive boundless and real happiness”.
Calling for creating state-of-the-art health infrastructure across the country, particularly in the rural areas, the Vice President said the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the need for better health infrastructure and advised the state governments to bestow special attention on this aspect.
The Vice President stressed the need to increase the number of medical colleges while referring to the government’s efforts to bridge the gap in doctor-patient ratio in the country. He said the doctor-patient ratio was 1:1,456 as against the WHO norm of 1:1000.
Expressing his appreciation at the government’s plan to establish at least one medical college in each district, he pointed out that the urban-rural ratio of doctors was also highly skewed with more medical professionals opting to work in urban areas.
Shri Naidu also emphasized that both medical education and treatment should be affordable and within the reach of the common man. He said that top priority should be accorded to education and health sectors with a greater allocation of budget.
Referring to the fast-changing technological world, the Vice President urged the medical colleges to ensure that those passing out of their portals stay abreast of the latest diagnostic and treatment systems. “This has become all the more imperative in the wake of the pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 as everything about the novel coronavirus is new learning to all—from scientists to doctors”, he added.
The Vice President said it was important to ensure that medical students imbibe and practise high ethical and moral standards. He advised them to always remain wedded to the righteous cause and protect the interests of the profession and their patients.
Shri Naidu also expressed his appreciation to the Association of National Board Accredited Institutions (ANBAI), an apex organization of many leading hospitals and medical institutions in India for partnering with the Government in providing post-graduate medical education.
The Vice President also paid his homage to the former President and statesman-philosopher, the late Shri Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan on his birth anniversary today. He also paid his respects to all his teachers, who mould and shaped his career.
Earlier, he presented the Life-Time Achievement Award to well-known cardiologist and President of Public Health Foundation of India, Dr. K. Srinath Reddy and others, including Dr. Devi Shetty.
Telangana Home Minister, Md. Mohamood Ali, Dr. Alexander Thomas, President, ANBAI, Dr.Abhijat Seth, President, National Board of Examinations, Dr. G S Rao, Organising Chairman, Dr Lingaiah, Organising Secretary and Dr. B Balaraju, President AP & TS ANBAI and others were present on the occasion.
Following is the full text of speech –
“At the outset, let me pay my respectful homage to the former President and statesman-philosopher, the late Shri Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan on his birth anniversary, which we celebrate, quite fittingly, as Teachers’ Day every year. I would also like to extend my greetings and best wishes to all the teachers on this occasion.
Let me take this opportunity to convey my heartiest congratulations to all the teacher awardees being honoured today!
Dear sisters and brothers.
As you all are aware, in our culture, we have the age-old tradition of paying reverential respects to our Gurus on the auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima. A Guru is someone who shows the righteous path, shapes character, brings about enlightenment and awakening, preserves culture and transforms our future. Guru Purnima epitomizes the role of Gurus and the veneration accorded to them in our culture since time immemorial.
Similarly, on Teachers Day, we pay our reverence and respect to teachers and honour them for the transformational role played by them in shaping the lives and careers of their students.
Today, we have gathered here to confer awards to teachers for their contribution to the field of medical education—more importantly, for moulding the professional careers of thousands of their students. As all of you are doubtless aware, quality medical education is essential to groom medical students and post-graduate doctors into well-qualified, professional doctors. In a fast-changing technological world, the education imparted by medical colleges must ensure that those passing out of their portals stay abreast of the latest diagnostic and treatment systems. This has become all the more imperative in the wake of the pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 as everything about the novel coronavirus is a new learning to all—from scientists to doctors.
At the same time, it is equally important to ensure that medical students imbibe and practise high ethical and moral standards. They must always remain wedded to the righteous cause and protect the interests of the profession and their patients.
Medical profession is one of the noblest professions in the history of mankind. It is one of the foremost services that directly alleviate human suffering and touches people’s lives. Remember the core value of ‘compassion for humanity’ in all your actions. Let that be your moral compass when in dilemma and always adhere to the highest level of ethics. If you can serve with a spirit of selfless dedication, you derive boundless and real happiness.
I am told that the Association of National Board Accredited Institutions (ANBAI), an apex organization of many leading hospitals and medical institutions in India, is partnering with the Government in providing post-graduate medical education. An added feature, I learn, is that the hospitals and medical institutions associated with ANBAI are accredited by the National Board of Examinations (NBE), an autonomous organization which conducts the prestigious Diplomate National Board (DNB) and Fellow National Board (FNB) programs.
It is really creditable that private hospitals are partnering with the Government in providing Postgraduate Medical Education.
Recently, the Government District Hospitals too have been entrusted with this responsibility. This is a huge effort on the part of the Government to bridge the gap in the doctor-patient ratio and to meet the requirement of specialists in the country. I am told that the doctor-patient ratio in the country is 1:1,456 as against the WHO norm of 1:1000. Besides, the urban-rural ratio of doctors is highly skewed with more number of medical professionals opting to work in urban areas. The need of the hour is to increase the number of medical colleges and in this context, I am happy to note that the government intends to establish at least one medical college in each district.
Apart from setting up more medical colleges, it is also vital to create state-of-the-art health infrastructure across the country, particularly in the rural areas. The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the need for creating better health infrastructure and I call upon the state governments to bestow special attention on this aspect.
Dear sisters and brothers
Both, medical education and treatment should be affordable and within the reach of the commonman. I am told that nearly one lakh MBBS graduates pass out each year. However, not all of them would be able to join post-graduate courses. I am informed that to meet the increasing demand for post-graduate medical education, the National Board has provided an avenue by permitting students to receive training at private hospitals. I am happy to note that the training provided in the private hospitals is under the strict supervision of the National Board of Examinations, which conducts periodic audits of every hospital.
I am pleased to learn that NBE and ANBAI are working closely on various issues pertaining to Postgraduate Medical Education in the country like increasing the number of examiners and inspectors in NBE hospitals and extending the accreditation validity from 3 years to 5 years. There is always the potential for conflict between a government regulator and the private bodies that it regulates. I am happy to note that the partnership between NBE and ANBAI is characterized by collaboration and teamwork for the larger benefit of the health sector in the country.
By encouraging more hospitals to join the NBE fold for teaching, correspondingly, more avenues are being provided for improving specialty medical care in government district hospitals and tier-II cities.
I am informed that ANBAI has recommended to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the setting up of a Teacher’s Accreditation Committee for accreditation of teachers from the NMCand also those in the private sector that the NBE governs.This will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning in these Institutions.
I am also glad to know that ANBAI is on the NBE-UNESCO steering committee on the teaching of bioethics in PG medical education.
I am told that ANBAI has started Uniform Learning Resource (ULR) project to make available medical journals at a fraction of the cost. This is a welcome initiative and the plan to take it up with the NITI Aayog for implementing it on a pan-India scale to benefit the entire medical fraternity is commendable.
While the ANBAI is engaging with the government for increasing the number of DNB seats in the country, it is also significant to note that NBE is starting diploma programs in smaller hospitals. This will go a long way in filling the vacancies in tier-II and tier-III cities and rural areas.
I am happy to learn that ANBAI and NBE have come together to recognize the untiring efforts of some of the best teachers and Institutions from across the country through these Awards. This is a very worthy cause. The Lifetime Achievement award, the ANBAI Annual Oration, and other Awards for Distinguished Teachers and Nurses will motivate more people to devote time to academic work and combine teaching with research.
I once again extend my warm congratulations to all the awardees. I am sure that this recognition will inspire all of you to continue to strive further to improve the standards of medical education and healthcare in India.