New Delhi: The year 2014 has been a tumultuous year for the medical sector. It has been through many ups and downs with almost every day throwing up a new challenge. In the last twelve months, while it made an incredible progress on some fronts, there have been some sombre moments that made all of us sit and think if we will ever achieve the vision of healthy and disease free India. But time and again the community rose up from the defeats and became ever stronger to build the nation.
As we end the year, it is time that we acknowledge the developments and cheer whatever small achievements we have made. While, ending this year on an analytical note, we shall not forget to devote some time to reflect on the year past and where we wish to seje ourselves as the New Year dawns. India Medical Times hopes to see a positive beginning along with a look at what experts have to say.
Dr M C Misra, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi
“This year has passed rather quickly. We have had some challenges to face at national level like the recent unfortunate deaths at sterilization camps and eye camp, Ebola scare, neonatal deaths in Bengal and encephalitis deaths. On the good side we have eradicated polio from our nation, we were prepared to handle Ebola by a good surveillance all over the nation, dengue cases have been reported low this year around and the number of people dying in road accidents has also gone down.
“The healthcare collaboration with the US, Australia and Japan is the hallmark. The Australian Prime Minister visited our trauma facilities and was all praise for it. We would be able to share expertise and technology for affordable healthcare in India. Foreign researchers and faculty coming and sharing their knowledge has been helpful.
“At AIIMS we are starting some projects to increase human resource and our patient handling capacity and emergency. Government has been sincere towards our needs.
“In the New Year, I look forward to some developments in research on Ebola vaccine, I hope the world is able to find a solution. We will be able to work on regenerative and nano medicine in partnership with the US. We have to strengthen all that we did in 2014 – spruce up trauma care, scare of infections, deal better with encephalitis, malaria, dengue, and MDRTB (Multiple Drug Resistant Tuberculosis). Not to forget that antibiotic resistance is one of the pressing challenges that should be given priority in the New Year. Overall, I wish to see a healthy India in 2015 and we tackle the challenges powerfully.”
Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi
“India has been declared a polio free nation; this is one of our biggest achievements in 2014. In medical breakthrough, introduction of biodegradable stents is one of the major advancements. Medical technology certainly advanced a lot in 2014. In medical science, genomic treatment of cancer is a breakthrough which is also available in India. There have been better results for treatment of specific diseases in India. The focus of India to prepare itself for increasing coronary heart disease and its target to reduce it by 25 per cent by 2015 is cheerful. In terms of public health, the government has taken some good steps and it has recently also collaborated with the World Health Foundation to spruce up prevention. The focus of India on indigenous manufacturing of medical devices is a welcome step.
“From 2015, I wish there is more public private partnership in health. We focus on prevention of diseases and make the benefits of medical sciences affordable to a common man.”
Dr Neelam Mohan, Director, Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Liver Transplantation, Medanta – The Medicity Hospital, Gurgaon
“It (2014) has definitely been a wonderful year for the medical sector. The health awareness among citizens has increased manifold. Likewise, there has been an exponential growth in the health tourism as well. I have seen an increased faith in Indian healthcare by people worldwide. We have been internationally appreciated.
“On the other side, the practice and observation of ethics has been strictly followed by doctors in India. When it comes to reputation and serious practice, ethics are of prime importance and I am happy to say that all my fellow doctors have maintained that reputation; there have been few instances of wrong practices but mostly the profession has been in positive light throughout the year.
“There have been advancements in the healthcare industry with more and more hospitals coming up nationally; the infrastructure has stepped up along with advanced technology. One of the good things I can say from my experiences is that the awareness and the need of health insurance have been realized by people, especially the middle class section.
“At the personal level, in an advancement at Medanta, the department of gastroenterology now has manometry facility too. The second is that Dr Trehan has given me a wonderful opportunity to establish a paediatric garden in the hospital. It will be designed in such a way that kids feel elated during their treatment programme because when it comes to holistic health the environment in which they are treated plays an important role in physical and psychological well being. Patients treated in bright rooms have shorter stay than patients treated in gloomy rooms. Another hallmark is that DNB has acknowledged a two-year course in paediatric gastroenterology.
“From 2015, I expect an overall improvement in healthcare delivery. At personal level, I want to allot six to seven beds for treatment of children from economically weaker sections.”
Dr Neeraj Nagpal, Convenor, Medicos Legal Action Group
“The year has been unfortunate for the medical sector. Government has slashed the health budget, which is already very meagre. There have been some bad decisions against doctors like imprisonment of three gynaecologist doctors for not being able to save a baby; the arrest of a paediatrician in Patiala. On the downside, the botched up eye surgeries was sad. Equally sad was the sterilisation camp incident.
“From 2015, I wish to see an improvement in the overall condition of doctors. Things have gone so bad lately that they can’t get worse than this. Doctors are projected and seen in negative shade, which is not correct. I want that in the coming year we all, from all the specialities, come together and collectively take decisions and not act in disparate groups. Unity is important to galvanize the support for the fraternity.”
by Vidhi Rathee