India, the Land of Culture, Heritage and Tradition is reeling under yet another malpractice that is becoming a nuisance day by day. The malpractice that seldom sees the light of the day because the associated culprits are seen as the "Form of God", the Doctors and the Medical Service Professional. Indeed, there is the God and then there is the Doctors and Medical Professionals. In God we believe and on Doctors and Medical Professionals we rely for our Health issues. In case of any ailment, our first option is Doctors and then God. But are the Doctors and Medical Professionals living up to the expectations that they should? I would say No as the Medical Profession today has become a Business of its own sorts. There is Price attached to everything and the Medical Professionals now have put a price with Premium to our Lives as well.
When we look around ourselves, we find that the Healthcare system in India is one of the weakest in the world. Though there are Civil Hospitals falling under the governance of Local / State or National Government, but then the Doctors associated treat most patients either in their own Nursing Homes or refer to other Doctors / Hospitals that charge phenomenal. Most of the times the facilities in these Government Hospitals lack adequacy in form of lack of medical equipment, lack of medicines, lack of enough infrastructure or lack of devoted time by the appointed Doctors. The Doctors here often prescribe medicines that are not available in the Hospital itself and when you visit the Medical Store, you find that the Medicine costs a fortune with a premium. And behind the scene case in there is the prescription is so specific that you get it at a Specific Medical Store only and the respective Doctor has a "Cut" in the overall charges that you pay for your medicine. If you dig dipper, often there are traces of evidences that lead to the medicines that were procured by the Government System and rather than ending up at the Hospital, they end up at the Medical Stores.
I remember coming across few cases where the District and State Procurement Officers, incidentally Doctors, were involved in the procurement of the Medicines. The prices and quantity in the invoices were actually inflated for their benefits and the Hospitals under their jurisdiction never received the medicines that they were supposed to in the given quantity. The Nexus involved the entire chain of people from the Clerk at the Hospitals to the Senior Healthcare officials associated with the State Secretariat. This is the state of affairs in almost every state where the Healthcare Governance System is Marred by the malpractices by the officials. And this results in up to 75% expenses on Healthcare by Indians to be "Out of Pocket Expenses."
There are many issues associated with the Malpractices in the Indian Healthcare System including the Lack of Governance and Lack of adequate Medical Insurance Practices. Incidentally the Medical Insurance Practice is also not that matured in India and There the passage of claim requires you to prove the History of Medical Ailment and why a Medical Expenditure was incurred and which doctor Recommended a set of tests. I am not sure how would you prove the Medical History for Heart Attacks when you have to undergo diagnostic tests anyhow. You can't wait for any recommendation to specific diagnostic center.
The biggest loss in entire case is mostly to the Aging Community, the people dealing with Old Age. There have been numerous cases where the Old Age patients didn't get adequate medical attention due to the issues highlighted in the preceding paragraphs, or because the cost of treatment is so high that their families decided to let them live with the ailment. A very Sorry state of affairs that deals a serious blowout to us and our History of Rich Tradition and Culture. I am not sure why do we forget that these same Elders are the ones who have worked to help us reach where we are today. Though there are the high infant death rate as reported in J&K as well as West Bengal are also associated with the same problem, I am sure there would be other states also where the news is suppressed by the local Medical Mafia or the other Government Agencies.
The biggest question coming out now is "What can we do in this Case?" Well certainly we can do a lot more than what we think. We need to come out of the cozy corner of our comfort and act to ensure that the Right Medical assistance is available to our fellow countrymen. It is quite easy to sit in front of our Television Sets and watch Episodes of Satyamev Jayate and then talk about the issues over evening tea or with friends and families during some occasions curse the Government. But, it is not as hard either to step up and work towards providing the medical aide to those who need it.
I am really thankful to a Young Friend of mine who approached me this morning and discussing the want to raise an awareness campaign or to start working towards creating a Fund for emergency Medical Assistance. She has even gone ahead and compiled a list of NGOs that work towards Providing Medical Assistance to those who need and has started to work towards a Project that would help raise funds to support those NGOs. She has decided to devote a day every month to work with NGOs for this purpose. We need more such Volunteers to step up and devote a day every month for this noble cause. I have decided to help my friend in her cause and have decided that I would donate my day's expenses every week for the cause she is going to work. It does no harm to cut expenses and have the money utilized for better causes.
We fight against the Hike in Petrol Prices, but we do not even realize the way we pay enormous amount for out Medical Assistance. Hike in Petrol Price hurts us, but we do not realize the dent the Medical Expenses make in our Pockets.