The government’s efforts to bolster the healthcare sector in the state are appreciable. The healthcare sector in the state, especially in the valley is heavily overloaded. The hospitals are understaffed, lack infrastructures and the patient load is overwhelming. The valley with a population of more than six million has a single tertiary care hospital. Many departments in the government medical lacked the requisite faculty and Medical Council of India had threatened to derecognize many post graduate courses offered in the college, mostly for lack of senior faculty like professors. The healthcare sector apparently is not doing well at all.
Many initiatives like recruitment of Assistant professors, augmenting infrastructure in district hospitals, using National Rural Health Mission to provide doctors in rural areas, have gone a long way in helping bring healthcare to level one and two patients across the state.
Stopping doctors from practicing in private clinics is again a good step but overzealous government officials raiding private clinics and misbehaving with doctors, was not in good taste. However, the officials overstepped their authority by filming the doctors and putting unedited videos on social networking sites like Facebook.
Any amount of decency and decorum would have made these officials desist from behaving the way they did. The uploading of these videos on the net, if done by the officials is a grave mistake.
Some may argue that doctors indulging in private practice have broken the rules and committed a wrong. But can anyone demolish the reputation of a person. In a civilized society even the identity of the alleged criminals is protected until proven guilty. Even in Delhi, people accused of heinous crimes, which mostly attract media attention, are brought to the court with their faces covered. Even the accused in the infamous sex-scandal case of 2005 are facing in-camera trials so that their identity remains concealed. Putting the image/ video of a doctor being dragged by an official on the web for everybody to see is an indecent immoral act to be treated as a crime.
Coming back to the healthcare scenario, there is a dearth of senior faculty in the medical education in Kashmir. Most of the sought after doctors, who practice at private clinics and hospitals are senior doctors. The union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, was once mulling attractive schemes for bringing back doctors, working outside the state, to Kashmir to strengthen the healthcare sector.
Medicos are among the few professionals who can find a well paying job anywhere in world even in the recession hit times. By treating doctors in such disgusting ways may make many in the profession to move out of Kashmir and work in greener pastures where they can earn more and in a dignified manner. Already Kashmiri doctors working in different countries are asking their friends in the profession here to leave the valley and work in other place where the remuneration is good and there is no threat of a government official misbehaving with you.
Doctors are a part of the society they need to be well paid. They are the ones who work in difficult circumstances and trying times. Their laudable role in keeping the hospitals up and running during the summer unrest cannot be ignored. Even if the government fires the erring doctors, it must be done in a civilized and dignified manner.