Concerned over the spurt in dengue and chikungunya cases, President Pranab Mukherjee today asked young doctors to strive for overcoming the deficiencies in the healthcare system so that such vector-borne diseases become a thing of the past.
Noting that the ratio of doctors in the country is far less in comparison to international standards especially in the rural areas, Mukherjee said the cooperation of the young doctors will help the government to build the health infrastructure in the country.
Recalling his years of growing up in his native West Bengal, Mukherjee while speaking at the centenary celebrations and convocation of Lady Hardinge Medical College here, said he witnessed villages falling prey to epidemics like cholera, small pox, tuberculosis and plague.
“Invariably I used to see advertisements in railway stations and in every post office issued by the public health department of the then state government — be careful of mosquitoes – mosquitoes are the death symbol. It was so prevelant,” he said.
“Of course new situation has emerged. Old diseases are no longer prevailing. Due care have been taken to remove them from the society. Medical research and science has made substantial contribution.
“But at the same time, in the new century and in the new mellinium we have to face new problems. I request you (young doctors) to always keep in mind certain basic facts – our deficiencies. It is on your young shoulders again to substantially meet that deficiency,” Mukherjee said.
He said India has one doctor per 1,700 people against international standard ratio of one doctor per 1,000 and the situation is more alarming in the rural areas, where the shortage of surgeons is as high as 83.4 per cent.
“So we can apprehend and also appreciate the huge dimensions of building up the health infrastructure particularly in the rural sector and your (young doctors) cooperation and sympathetic hands will no doubt help the government of the day to overcome the problem,” he said.
The President advised the young graduating doctors to be proud of the skills instilled in them by the college to face challenges of the competitive world.
“Be truthful, be virtuous, have compassion and never deviate from your own conviction,” he said.
He further asked them to be learners, students, and innovators and researchers as they go forward in their profession.
President Mukherjee said that during the 190 years of “colonial exploitation”, India was “forced” to get accustomed with names of the rulers and most of them have been forgotten but certain names like Lady Hardinge left a permanent impression in the minds.
“In our long history of 190 years of colonial rules, we were forced to get accustomed with so many names of our colonial rulers and personalities. Most of them we have forgotten today. We wanted to forget along with the end of 190 years of colonial exploitations.
“But certain names which are associated with the colonial era have left a permanent impression in our mind like Bethune, and one such name is Lady Hardinge who thought of providing medical education to girl students and establish an exclusive college,” Mukherjee said.
He said that while the college was established in 1917, the British women got the right to vote in the Parliament elections in 1924.
“Seven years before, Lady Hardinge thought of providing modern scientific medical education to Indian women, I appreciate that,” Mukherjee said.
The President termed doctors as the most important component of the society, who have a tremendous responsibility to provide healthcare to the needy.
He asked them to focus on providing their services in the rural and far flung areas to strengthen the medical infrastructure in the country.
Terming the convocation as an important milestone in the life of both teachers and students, Mukherjee said that while the students are rewarded for their hard work, faculty members have satisfaction as they feel that from raw materials they have produced a finished product which will be of immense service to the nation.