Young Doctors need to uphold ethics and treat every patient with compassion and empathy: Vice President

Make quality healthcare accessible and affordable;

Curriculum in medical education needs to be constantly upgraded;

Bridge urban-rural divide in providing state-of-the-art healthcare services;

Addresses 46th Annual Convocation of All India Institute of Medical Sciences

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that the young doctors to bear in mind the need to uphold ethics and treat every patient with compassion and empathy, irrespective of his or her financial background. Addressing the 46th Annual Convocation of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), here today, he said that the All India Institute of Medical Sciences is an institution which has made the nation proud and achieved excellence in patient care, teaching and research.

The Vice President said that medical education has undergone a paradigm shift from class room based didactic teaching to self directed small group learning using principles of adult learning. The traditional methods of learning via imparting knowledge have evolved into competency-based learning to ensure that trainees acquire all essential skills before licensure, he added.

Shri Naidu said that the curriculum in medical education needs to be constantly upgraded in tune with the latest advancements. I am sure that the curriculum developed at AIIMS can be adopted by other AIIMS like institutions and other medical colleges, he added.

Saying multidisciplinary teams are the need of the hour, the Vice President said that forging research coalitions with different department of AIIMS, as well as reaching out to other centres of excellence and researchers in the country should be given a priority.

The Vice President said that we have to make quality healthcare accessible and affordable. He further said that there is also a significant urban-rural divide and referred a report of PWC points out “India has only 1.1 beds per 1000 population in India compared to the world average of 2.7. 70% of India’s healthcare infrastructure is in the top 20 cities.” We have to bridge this urban-rural divide in providing state-of-the-art healthcare services, he added.

Shri Naidu said that we have a paradoxical situation when it comes to health sector. On the one hand, India is making rapid strides in medical tourism with people from other countries coming to our country for a range of treatments from liver transplant to knee replacement, he said. However, the same treatment is out of reach for many Indians and we need to overcome this paradoxical situation by ensuring that treatment is affordable for all Indians, he further said. An important step in this direction will be to promote manufacturing of state-of-the-art devices and equipment in the country, particularly under the ‘Make in India’ programme and such a move will not only save precious foreign exchange for us but also bring down the costs of the devices, he added.

The Vice President said that only the doctors can provide the healing touch to the ailing humanity and they only can make the difference between life and death. Only you can add life to people’s years, he said. People admire actors but they adore doctors and doctors must treat their profession as a mission, he added.

Shri Naidu complimented the Director, the faculty members and all other staff members for making AIIMS an institution of excellence. I hope our Bharat will become Ayushman and every citizen will find the healthcare facilities more responsive, affordable ethically sound and qualitatively among the best in the world, he added.

The Vice President presented the Lifetime Achievement Awards to Dr. A. K. Saraya, Dr. Samira Nundy, Dr. Kamal Buckshee and Dr. Gomathy Gopinath (in absence) on this occasion. He also presented Gold Medals and Certificates to 31 Medical Students who have achieved highest merit.

The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare and the President of AIIMS, Shri J.P. Nadda, the Director of AIIMS, Prof. Randeep Guleria and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

“I am indeed delighted to deliver the 46th convocation address at AIIMS, New Delhi, one of the highly reputed medical institutions in the country.

First of all, I would like to convey my heartiest congratulations to the students who have received their academic degrees, awards and recognitions today.

Dear students,

Today you all begin a new journey in your professional career – a journey that will enable you to use your skills and knowledge in a career you have chosen to pursue.

You have entered this premier institution by qualifying in one of the toughest competitions in the country.

I am sure you have pursued the academic activities with sincerity and great dedication and, as a result, you are receiving the credentials today as a fully qualified medical professional.

Your faculty members have contributed in imparting education and skills of high standards to practice medicine with professional ethics.

It is definitely a moment of pride not only for you but for your teachers and parents.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences is an institution which has made the nation proud and achieved excellence in patient care, teaching and research.

It is providing services to all sections of the society and has established itself as an institution of international repute.

This has been possible due to the stupendous efforts and hard work of the faculty, resident doctors and staff over many years.

The most important challenge in medical education, like education in general, today, is to provide quality education at affordable cost.

AIIMS has been established as an autonomous body by the special act of Parliament to make this possible.

However, one such institution is not enough. This is why the government is now establishing 8 such institutions.

We all know that there is acute shortage of skills and human resources in the health sector at all levels—from physicians to paramedics. Hence, the Government of India has planned for rapid expansion of the medical education facilities in the entire country by establishing new AIIMS-like institutions and medical college in the states.

Dear students and faculty members,

We are, as a nation, passing through a transformational phase. As the recent report of NITI Ayog noted:

“India has achieved significant economic growth over the past decades, but the progress in health has not been commensurate. Despite notable gains in improving life expectancy, reducing fertility, maternal and child mortality, and addressing other health priorities, the rates of improvement have been insufficient, falling short on several national and global targets”.

In addition, there are wide variations across States in their health outcomes and systems performance.

In the reference year 2015-16 among larger States, the Index score for overall performance ranged widely between 33.69 in Uttar Pradesh to 76.55 in Kerala.

What is a worrying is that about one-third of the States have shown a decline in their Health Indices.

India is faced currently with double burden of disease.

On the one hand, we are still grappling with dengue, swine flu, chikangunya, malaria and HIV. On the other hand, the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are taking a heavy toll. Cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and diabetes are contributing to substantial chunk of total deaths in India.

Not only in terms of expanded access to medical education but also in terms of quality, much more needs to be done.

Medical education has undergone a paradigm shift from class room based didactic teaching to self directed small group learning using principles of adult learning. The traditional methods of learning via imparting knowledge have evolved into competency-based learning to ensure that trainees acquire all essential skills before licensure.

The curriculum in medical education needs to be constantly upgraded in tune with the latest advancements. I am sure that the curriculum developed at AIIMS can be adopted by other AIIMS like institutions and other medical colleges.

I am happy to learn that AIIMS has established Skill E Learning and Telemedicine facility and will be extending this facility to connect the remotest areas and medical institutions of the country.

I am, indeed, happy that research is not a routine activity but a mission at AIIMS. Indeed, the research conducted at AIIMS has significantly contributed in improving the quality of teaching and patient care, apart from helping formulate national policies on various issues.

I would like AIIMS to expand research priorities to look at wider challenges of basic, translational, clinical and public health research.

Multidisciplinary teams are the need of the hour. Forging research coalitions with different department of AIIMS, as well as reaching out to other centres of excellence and researchers in the country should be given a priority.

I am happy to learn that AIIMS New Delhi has established collaborations with IIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur and many international universities.

A major challenge we have to overcome is the need to provide quality health care at all levels. Recent studies reveal that India still accounts for 16% of the global share of maternal deaths and 27% of global new born deaths. Deaths continue to occur due to communicable diseases, with 22% of global TB incidence in India. India’s non-communicable disease (NCD) burden continues to expand and is responsible for around 60% of deaths in India.

We have to make quality healthcare affordable.

It is estimated that the out of pocket expenditure constitutes more than 60% of all health expenses, a major drawback in a country like India where a large segment of the population is poor. Approximately 63 million people fall into poverty each year due to lack of financial protection for their healthcare needs.

There is also a significant urban-rural divide. As a report of PWC points out “India has only 1.1 beds per 1000 population in India compared to the world average of 2.7. 70% of India’s healthcare infrastructure is in the top 20 cities.”

We have to bridge this urban-rural divide in providing state-of-the-art healthcare services.

Highest priority has to be accorded to strengthening primary healthcare and tertiary care. We need to increase the number of doctors available at health care centres residing in rural area. We must incentivize rural doctors.

It is a matter of concern that the absence of qualified medical practitioners is making people to go to quacks in rural areas.

I also feel that in the present times of specialization and super specialization, greater focus needs to be paid to the disciplines of family and community medicine. This will help in providing comprehensive health care for people of all ages in families and communities.

We have a paradoxical situation when it comes to health sector. On the one hand, India is making rapid strides in medical tourism with people from other countries coming to our country for a range of treatments from liver transplant to knee replacement. However, the same treatment is out of reach for many Indians. We need to overcome this paradoxical situation by ensuring that treatment is affordable for all Indians.

An important step in this direction will be to promote manufacturing of state-of-the-art devices and equipment in the country, particularly under the ‘Make in India’ programme. Such a move will not only save precious foreign exchange for us but also bring down the costs of the devices.

With a majority of the population, particularly from poor and low middle classes meeting most of the health expenditure on their own, the Government has launched ‘Ayushman Bharat Yojana’ to cover more than 10 crore vulnerable families by providing a coverage of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. This will be a game-changer in terms of accessing healthcare services in India.

I would also like all the young doctors to bear in mind the need to uphold ethics and treat every patient with compassion and empathy, irrespective of his or her financial background.

Only you can provide the healing touch to the ailing humanity. Only you can make the difference between life and death. Only you can add life to people’s years.

That’s the trust people have in the medical professionals. That’s the trust which must be preserved and enhanced.

Finally, I would like to compliment the Director and the faculty members and also all other staff members for making this an institution of excellence. Please continue your efforts, despite formidable challenges.

I am sure the government will continue to create congenial conditions for your success. I hope our Bharat will become Ayushman and every citizen will find the healthcare facilities more responsive, affordable ethically sound and qualitatively among the best in the world.

I am sure you will join me in sharing our ancient India’s common goal of a world where all people enjoy a happy life, free from disease:

Sarve Bhavantu

Sukhinah
Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah

JAI HIND!”

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