“The success of a doctor lies in ensuring that a patient does not return to the hospital after recovery. For this the doctor should educate the patient on the lifestyle to adopt so as to avoid falling ill again,” Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, told doctors and officials at the capital’s Safdarjung Hospital today. About 80 percent of health care is about prevention. A World Health Organization research finding states that 40-45 percent of the disease burden of the world is due to physical inactivity. Dr Harsh Vardhan, who said on his first day in office that prevention would be the bedrock of the government’s public health policy, reiterated that doctors should develop a consciousness in patients on the importance of yoga and exercise in leading lives free of ailments and with dignity.
Referring to a news report that four people die in India every minute of cardio vascular diseases, the Minister said, “It is the prevention advice that cardio vascular diseases can be avoided by giving up the sedentary lifestyle which can prevent so many deaths.” Dr Harsh Vardhan spent nearly two hours at the hospital this morning visiting the departments, wards, stores, laboratories and blood bank. Accompanying him were Dr Rajpal, the Medical Superintendent, Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services and Dr Jayshree Bhattacharya, principal of Vardhamana Mahavira Medical College.
The Health Minister observed that while medicines were distributed free of cost, poor patients still had to pay for certain services like CT Scan and MRI. “I think these services should be made free because the poor certainly deserve it as part of their treatment” he announced.
The Minister asked doctors to promote rational use of essential drugs. Young doctors should be trained in this principle which has been recommended by WHO, he said, adding that patients should be administered drugs appropriate to their clinical needs in doses that meet their requirements. However, the present culture seems to be to write out medicines without thought to their justifiability, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated.
The Minister requested senior doctors to instil in the new generation of practitioners the principles of rational drug use. He instructed the Medical Superintendent to initiate the process of training of the junior doctors about rational use of drugs as soon as they join the hospitals. Dr Harsh Vardhan, who visited the capital’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and All India Institute of Medical Sciences over the past two days, asked the medical community to begin a process of introspection without which they cannot hope to conquer disease.
“We conquered polio by tapping the best in people, and I am sure we can do it in the case of meeting all the Millennium Development Goals before the target date,” he remarked.
However, he agreed with the general perception that the quality of medical colleges were not up to old standards. For this he held the Medical Council of India responsible. “They have not fulfilled their task,” he observed. It was therefore up to senior doctors to continuously promote the values which formed part of the medical community in earlier generations, he said. “All doctors should consider themselves privileged to be able to serve their families as well as society. The greatest challenge for a doctor is to be a good human being,” Dr Harsh Vardhan remarked.
The Minister inspected the upcoming emergency and super-speciality blocks, which are part of the redevelopment of Safdarjung Hospital. He instructed the DGHS to come up with a plan for a new, state-of-the art, mother-and-child care block. He underscored its need saying in the foreseeable future it would guide the national effort to bring down the maternal mortality and infant mortality rates by half. Also on his mind was the comfort of patients. The Minister advised the Medical Superintendent to ensure that the waiting period of patients along with their relatives is made discomfort free.
The authorities of Safdarjung Hospital should add adequate number of chairs in the reception area, enhance the number of trolleys and wheelchairs and install in the waiting area TV sets to play out educational messages and films on health. Dr Harsh Vardhan lauded the efforts of the doctors and staff of the hospital’s Sports Injury Centre for their scientific attitude and meticulousness. This newly developed wing of Safdarjung Hospital gives state-of-the art, specialised treatment of sports and related orthopaedic disorders. It houses surgical, rehabilitative and diagnostic services under one roof.