The Global Indian Doctor - Workshop on promoting professionalism and ethics
10 Jan 2014, Kolkata
Providing affordable and safe health care is now one of the biggest challenges facing all countries, and with rising costs this is leading to further health inequalities and apart from creating waste this situation has the potential to create civic unrest. The problem is very acute in India – with almost 40 million Indians falling below poverty line due to illness annually- although some recent developments including the Universal Health Care Coverage plans offer some hope.
In addition, with 1 in 6 person in the world being an Indian and the vast health burden in India and with rising economy and innovation, India is both, the cause of global health challenges and the potential solution.
With nearly 1.2 million Indian doctors worldwide, they can be a powerful resource for change. However, are we up for the challenges facing the health system in India? How can we reinvigorate the sense of vocation and promote professionalism and ethical practices? How do we support and develop health leaders in India? There are serious concerns about all aspects of medical practice: from entry to medical colleges or to post-graduation to the quality of education and training and about self-referrals and commissions paid. The question being asked is have doctors lost their way in India?
The above is not to deny that there are many concerned and committed doctors who wish to see these trends reversed and restore the sense of vocation and pride amongst doctors. The Forum for Medical Ethics and Medico Friends Circle; their publication – Indian Journal of Medical Ethics- has been raising awareness of professionalism and ethical issues for many years. More recently, the Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (www.gapio.in) has been formed to mobilise Indian doctors worldwide to enable them to achieve professional excellence and especially to explore how we can all work together to support health developments in India.
Being an Indian doctor in the 21st century is both, a privilege and a responsibility, and we need to play our part in tackling the health challenges where ever we work. We need to ensure that we not only treat illness but also contribute to human and social development.
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