If health truly is wealth, and if that is so then doctors are the custodians of that wealth. And that is never truer than in today’s trying times.
To commend the commitment to community that doctors espouse, even as they continue to battle at the frontlines of this war against the pandemic, India’s foremost healthcare professionals were brought together at The Economic Times Doctors Day Conclave 2020, ahead of Doctor’s Day, which is celebrated on July 1st every year.
This year, the day assumes much more significance as we continue to face one of the largest health emergencies That the world has seen. An unprecedented crisis of enormous proportions has presented new economic, societal and human challenges, and it is our medical community who are at the forefront of it all, keeping all of us safe.
The event was marked with addresses from inspiring leaders such as Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Former President of India; Dr. Kiran Bedi, Honourable Lieutenant Governor, Government of Puducherry, India; and Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, in addition to noted medical and civil society personalities as they deliberated on the importance of our medical fraternity.
The occasion was also marked by the launch of a series of iconic coffee table books profiling medical leaders from across sections of medicine such as cardiology, endocrinology, and oncology. Together, they not only delved into issues affecting Indian healthcare, the challenges they face and understood upcoming technological innovations, but also heard from leaders from all walks of life as they drew a line under the importance of doctors in our lives.
Addressing the august gathering, Shri Pranab Mukherjee spoke of the importance of investing in healthcare and focusing on it from a policy perspective, saying, “The share of healthcare expenditure in India’s GDP in health is just about 1.3%. The bulk of it comprises salaries, gross budgetary support to various institutions and hospitals and transfers to states under centrally sponsored schemes. I hope, in these coming years, healthcare is given the importance it deserves. Such dismal investment benefits neither the provider nor the recipient.”
“Moreover, a lack of resources further limits the extent to which a healthcare service provider can help. A healthcare system resting on the essential trinity of availability, quality and affordability is a sine qua non of a developed country. This is the lesson which the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us. We must convert this crisis into an opportunity to ramp up our health infrastructure, add new hospitals and hospital beds and critical medical equipment such as ventilators.”
“Health is one of the fundamental pillars of human resource development in any society. It is indeed necessary to put in more and more investment in the healthcare sector and expand it with the help of private sector. We need to be careful while doing this lest we privatize it while making it unaffordable.”
The event was marked by sparkling conversations and myriad insights, all of it focused on making the most of India’s demographic and economic advantage through optimal healthcare. If we are to emerge stronger from the crisis that engulfs us, it is imperative that we put at our Doctors disposal every tool required to overcome this pandemic together. The Economic Times Doctor’s Day Conclave was a step in this direction, with the aim to salute those serving the nation tirelessly.