Millennium Post

Failing public health

The fate of the medical profession, in our country, has been under the scanner for quite some time. With repeated instances of misdirected treatment, failing facilities and the loss of lives that should have been saved under every ordinary circumstance, we have witnessed horrific cases of medical negligence and improper treatment meted out to our population. A reason for this impediment has been the state of medical colleges in the country today. At the time of Independence, there were 20 medical colleges, with 19 falling under the purview of the state and only one in the private domain. Since 2000, 96 colleges have come up in the state sector and 182 in the private sector. The misdemeanour mongering in the private sector is no secret. With underhand money exchange and seat reservation on the basis of bank credit rather than merit, the state of these colleges has been deteriorating with time. The Supreme Court has now come down heavily upon a medical college under the Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan University at Bhopal, where the Madhya Pradesh High Court allowed the complete functioning of the college prior to an MCI accreditation. On its inspection, the MCI found that the hospital attached to the college was housing fake patients, simply to fulfill the patient bed ratio; a clear departure from the rules that ought to be followed. This instance is simply one out of the many such occurrences that unfold on a daily basis in our country. The quality of life given to our citizens is at a dismal low. It is, as if, we are at the mercy of another's goodwill, whereas in a democracy a citizen should be the pinnacle of decision making. The field of medicine and public health requires severe scrutiny from the authorities and the government. The mushrooming of private medical colleges and hospitals has to be checked. There is no restriction or supervision that restrains the unlawful activities conducted here. Citizens pay lakhs of rupees for the admission of their children to become doctors and pay lakhs more for the treatment of family members. The price of living is indeed at its peak today. If at that price we were at least guaranteed excellent quality, the idea could be debatable. But, the quality we receive is substandard and the price we pay keeps escalating. The health of citizens is a most crucial marker defining the quality of a democracy, and in this, our democracy falls flat on its face. The shameful greed for money and power has swept ethics and concern for citizens under the carpet of plasticity. Our politicians are busy beating their chests and making proud claims of doing business, but business detrimental to our society is simply profiteering. Money making has to be divorced from healthcare if we wish to successfully preserve our nation's health.
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