The COVID-19 pandemic “tested our endurance” while giving an opportunity to adapt, evolve and innovate and the nation not only beat the odds but also turned them into opportunities, Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena said Monday. At the second convocation of the Hindu Rao Medical College, he also called upon medical professionals working in the private sector in Delhi to contribute their own bit by “making the health industry think beyond just exponential profits”. “The last couple of years were unprecedented in terms of the way the world normally functions. The COVID-19 pandemic posed a severe challenge to humankind itself. It tested our endurance.” However, this challenge also gave us an opportunity to adapt, evolve and innovate. We can now say with confidence that we not only resiliently beat the odds but also turned them into opportunities to further the boundaries of human ingenuity,” Saxena said.
While governments at various levels are doing their best with available resources, the impoverishing impact of health and medical expenses on the common citizen is concerning. Data suggests that four crore people in India slip into poverty each year due to medical expenses, he said. Various schemes like the Ayushman Bharat, Jan Aushadhi and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna are playing an “instrumental role in correcting this anomaly,” the LG said. “At the same time, our doctors and other health professionals in the public health infrastructure are playing a yeoman role despite severe constraints and volume of patients. “I take this opportunity to call upon medical professionals working in the private sector in Delhi to come forward and contribute their own bit,” he said.
Saxena also urged the graduating MBBS students to inculcate compassion in their clinical practice and keep learning throughout their careers. He also hailed the contribution of doctors during the pandemic. “The efforts put in by doctors and health professionals in dealing with the pandemic right from the forefront have been exemplary. There were around 57.1 crore Covid cases worldwide with 4.39 crore in India alone. “We battled the pandemic efficiently and became one of the first countries to roll out vaccines. I would like to record my appreciation for the medical fraternity for the untiring efforts that they put in during this crisis,” the LG said.
The pandemic must have come with a different set of challenges for the students. It hampered the way education is imparted traditionally, he said. “But, I am sure it would have also provided you with an opportunity to gain insights into your subjects of medicine and treatment like no other structured course could have,” Saxena said. India has had a long-standing tradition of serving humanity. It is rooted in the country’s basic cultural ethos. As a nation, India has evolved into “one of the largest medical reservoirs” with about 595 medical institutions that annually provide 90,000 doctors, he said. “We have a doctor population ratio of 1.83 per thousand people, which is better than the WHO standard of 1:1,000. However, this is no reason to be complacent. “The other side of the same statistics shows grave regional disparities in these numbers. While Delhi has one doctor for about 330 people, states like Bihar, Haryana and Jharkhand have one doctor for around 3,300; 6,000 and 8,000 people respectively,” he said.
This is an area of great concern. It underlines the need to upgrade medical infrastructure where it is required and is also indicative of the increasing load of patients from such areas in hospitals in the national capital, the LG said. “Even as we wait for things to improve nationally, the onus of gearing ourselves to the best of our capabilities to accommodate and effectively handle this increased patient load lies on us,” he added. Saxena said the e-Sanjeevani initiative undertaken by the Hindu Rao Hospital can prove to be an effective way forward. Later in a tweet, the LG said: “Addressed the brilliant minds at 2nd Convocation of MCD Medical College. Urged the students to inculcate compassion in their clinical practice and keep learning throughout their careers. Congratulations to all graduating students, parents and faculty! My Best Wishes.”