26 Wednesday
July 2017
Who Will Help The Poor?

We elect the MLA. The MLA gets rich.

We elect the MP. The MP gets rich.

MPs elect our National leader. His best friends get rich.

They tell us to put our money in the banks. And then charge for every transaction. The banks get rich.

They start universal crop insurance programme. The crops fail. The farmers don’t get a dime. Thousands of them kill themselves. The insurance companies get rich. By 10,000 crore of our money.

And we, 1.34 billion of us, still wait for acchey din.

Every scheme made for the poor is twisted and turned in a manner that the rich keep getting richer and the poor remain below poverty line. Take into consideration the EWS houses in Gurgaon high rise apartments. For 7 years they were kept vacant and not allocated at subsidized rates to poor people as was envisaged by law. But now, I saw split Acs fitted in each one of them and wondered which economically weaker person could afford the electricity bill of a split AC! I have been informed the builder has furnished these EWS houses and is now making a rent of 15000 per one room set per month! Another scam for the poor, another rich man getting richer.

The Banks and Institutions are getting richer for a reason too. If you or I ask for a loan, we get loan against a collateral, house, land , jewellery etc which can be seized if we default on repayment. But what if you are a conglomerate? You can get thousands of crores of tax payers money from the bank as loan, which when you don’t repay, becomes a Non Paying Asset and is written off by a very considerate pro-industry government. 1.14 lakh crores of loans have been written off. That is 1.14 lakh crore of our money, which we don’t spend, save in the bank for the measly 4% return (also taxable) has been written off, so that the Industrialists can fly their private jets. Not all industry, mind you, the small and medium scale industry is crying for help. Those that actually “Make in India”are not even being given uninterrupted power supply, roads in industrial areas, water and drainage, basics requested by them for 70 liberated years!!

The problem is, the people who are in charge: the bureaucrats, law enforcers, elected politicians, all those who are supposed to look after the rights of the people, are busy stuffing their own pockets with our money! Who then will look after the poor???

I’m afraid the onus once again will fall upon us.

If you’re a government official, please do your work without delay, harassment and taking bribes. The salary you get comes from our taxes.

If you’re a doctor, please declare your fees. Every penny of it. Charge as much as you desire, but don’t take a cut or kickback, from anyone. When you take nothing extra , you will not be tempted to write unnecessary investigations.

If you’re a shop keeper, please pay your taxes. All of us are doing it, why must you be exempt?

If you’re a teacher, please become a fabulous role model to the next generation. We are raising the largest number of youth in the world, the 21st century will truly belong to India if you do your job well. Don’t underestimate the power you hold. Wield it well, and the Nation will owe you.

If you’re a mother, raise your children to be kind and honest. Everything else can be taught, but these values can only be instilled by you. We have to make India a better Nation for our children, but we also have to make better people for the Nation.

In 1965, Lal Bahadur Shastriji gave us the slogan, “Jai Jawan , Jai Kissan”. I saw a video of our Indian soldiers guarding every inch of land from foreign onslaught, and on the same day, heard a minister say “why must the army be given free rations”. The law makers give our MLAs and MPs lifetime pension for one session that they attend, while they question why an army officer should be given pension after short service??? Our farmers are protesting by the thousands, and the only thing they are given is bullets or complete silence.

The government is not going to give anything to the jawaan, nor to the kisaan , nothing to the aam insaan. Sabka saath, sabka vikas will happen only when all of us do our bit.

Jai Hind.
Dr.Sarika Verma
ENT Surgeon & Allergy Specialist.

20 Thursday
July 2017
The Government’s Intervention in Healthcare:
is it helping the people??

There was some hue and cry about the Medical Council of India (MCI) becoming corrupt and that they were not functioning properly. The Centre’s band aid solution to it , to the shock of the medical profession was to replace the MCI by the Niti Aayog, and the group proposed to govern the lakhs of doctors in India consisting of bureaucrats, lawyers, political appointees and 2 doctors!!! Initially I thought it must be a kind of joke, because the lawyers govern themselves, accountants govern themselves, even architects have their own guild, so this must be a cosmic joke! But no, true to form, just like we have a demonitisation foisted upon a billion plus people by a finance department incapable of even doing a dry run of the notes to be dispensed from ATMs, we have a new healthcare policy foisted upon a nation, which by the government’s own admission depends 80% on private doctors to provide healthcare.

First, a notification springs up overnight that states the cap on a price of a cardiac stent at 20,000. The media tries to make it out as if this is the best thing to stop hospitals from over charging its hapless patients. But you know what happened? All international companies with standardized stents left the Indian market. The fact is, our hospitals can now not give an option for better stents, thanks to the new regulation, so Indians have started going overseas to Bangkok ,Singapore and UAE to have the same implants inserted.

The logic is fairly simple. The government should cap the price of 4 wheeler cars to 3 lakh rupees. After all a Maruti 800 or a Tata Nano is an AC car, capacity of 5 people, goes from place to place. It serves every function of a 4 wheeler car. Do you think we will still have Honda, Toyota, BMW, Audi on our roads????? Why do we want to have these better brands???? Because we have the money to afford the features and quality that these brands bring. The same is with Cardiac Implants. The extra cost was for the research, the features, the quality that came with a higher price. Unfortunately that has been snatched away from the Indian patient, because we have non-medical people taking medical decisions.

Reverse medical tourism has already begun, and India which was fast becoming the Medical Tourism Hub providing not only a boost to Healthcare Industry, but also bringing in Dollars for the Tourism, Hotels,Food, Travel Industry , will take a beating when they use the same notification on other implants, aids and healthcare products.

There was news about a nexus between Pharma companies sponsoring Doctor’s holidays. The MCI had 2 years back come down very strongly on this and the medical fraternity has been supportive of this step. A few bad apples giving the whole pack a bad name, so I for one, was extremely happy that such legislation had come into vogue. Now, using that as an excuse, the government has given two notifications. One, in which a doctor cannot name a brand in their prescription and two the dispensing of medicines, will be the choice of the Pharmacist. So, in one stroke, your healthcare has been taken from the hands of a person who you trust and has spent at least 10-12 years acquiring the skill and knowledge to treat you, to a person who more often than not in India, does not even have a 3 year Pharma degree!!!!

Can you even imagine the amount of danger it puts my patient in??? I treat patients as I would my family members, and if I had to treat my child, I would want to give them the best possible medicine so that they get better in 2 doses. Why should I trust a generic medicine from an unknown company, with non-standardized formulation and dubious content??? I won’t!! And I seriously won’t do that to my patients. They trust me to make them better, It’s my job to use my education ,experience and knowledge to help them get well sooner, and I vehemently protest this dilution of my armamentarium because of either vested interests or a Niti Aayog that really has no clue what they are doing.

Then there is this government notification on the proposal to cap the costs of hospital beds. I recommend they first start with the hotel industry and kill it first before moving to healthcare. The reason is pretty simple. The Country will suffer if it’s Tourism and Travel Industry is killed but this Country and its people will not be able to survive if the Nursing Homes become unviable. The Government provides 20% of the healthcare through its hospitals, dispensaries and medical colleges. Another 10% is provided by the Corporate Hospitals .A whopping 70% of healthcare is provided to the People of India through its unorganized healthcare stand-alone clinics, the Neighbourhood nukkad Nursing home and the government should be grateful to its private practitioners for holding up and doing more than 3 times the support that the government is providing.

If they want to do more for Indian people, they must increase their healthcare budgets 4-5 times more. They must create government hospitals at every 50 km, providing not just first aid and referral but actually providing Super specialists in every hospital. There is no dearth of doctors, but if the government creates posts for Super specialists, operating theatres, intensive care units, dialysis units, neonatal units in every peripheral government hospital, there will be more jobs for the entire medical fraternity, there will be quality accessible healthcare for its citizens and less burden on the people who have to scrounge for loans even for a delivery.

The government has to become more responsible in its policy making and involve all the stakeholders while planning new proposals instead of ramming their ill- researched, half- baked ideas down the throats of a 1.25 billion people. We are after all, the world’s largest democracy. If only we were heard.

Dr.Sarika Verma
ENT Surgeon and Allergy Specialist.