Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday expressed serious concern at the escalating violence against honest and hard-working doctors and the laying of false charges against them. The CJI said it also wanted to recognize the tireless spirit of doctors who work tirelessly around the clock for their patients.
“Doctors are mentors, advisors, friends and advisors. They should always remain active members of society and solve problems that people face,” he said. The CJI said: “I am extremely saddened to witness increasing violence against doctors. Several false charges are leveled against sincere and diligent doctors. They need a better and safer work environment.”
On the occasion of the publication of Atlas of Breast Elastography and Ultrasound Guided Fine Needle Cytology, a book written by Dr. Col. CS Pant and Dr. Vaneeta Kapur, the CJI said: “This is where the medical professional associations come into play. You have to be proactive in highlighting the demands of the doctors.”
He added that women make up 50 percent of the country’s population and are the backbone of the family and society, and therefore their health needs to receive equal attention and reflection in our society and politics. “People, especially the women in the house, care about the health of everyone except their own health. It is the duty of other family members, especially the husband and children, to force her to go for regular health check-ups so that she is able to understand her body and health,” said CJI Ramana.
He said: “We know how important a wife or mother is when she’s gone. Although my mother died at the age of 80, I realize that to this day I still feel the loss of my mother. Therefore, every family must realize the importance of the housewife who takes care of the whole family. This is my request and it is our duty, first and foremost, to educate and above all to raise awareness among the people in society who are influential and able to form opinions, doctors, NGOs and celebrities.”
The CJI also expressed concern about the healthcare system in India, saying more than 70 percent of the population lives in rural areas where people do not have the minimum amenities, forget the comforts of corporate hospitals.
“Even Primary Health Centers (PHC) are not properly equipped, if there is a PHC there are no doctors and if there is a doctor there is no PHC. When both are there, there is no infrastructure. This is the situation in this country and in this scenario, this kind of affordable technique of early detection of cancer by ultrasound is very helpful,” the CJI said.
He thanked Dr. (Col)Pant, Dr. Kapur, Dr. Biswajit Sen who contributed to the book including his daughter Dr. Sri Bhuvana N
CJI Ramana was full of praise for Dr. Shiv Sarin, Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Hepatobiliary Sciences, for pointing out serious issues such as protecting doctors, organ donation campaigns and promoting doctors in a timely manner.
He said that all these questions from Sarin have been raised in court and will be dealt with accordingly and he is aware of these issues because his daughter is also a doctor. He said if this disease is to be tackled effectively, the government needs to intervene on a large scale and boost medical infrastructure and research.
“The government needs to explore the possibility of involving companies to use their CSR policies for healthcare in rural areas. Ultimately, a roadmap is needed to address this issue. The Ministry of Health must involve doctors, leading NGOs and industrialists to prepare the same. The role of doctors is also of great importance,” he said.
Sharing some facts and figures, CJI Ramana said that in India, one woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every four minutes and it is the most common type of cancer in women. He said: “27.7 percent of all new cancers detected in women in 2018 were breast cancer. Every eight minutes a woman dies from breast cancer. Overall, 87,090 women died from breast cancer in 2018, the second highest number in the world for that year.”
Around 32 percent of the new cases belong to the 25 to 49 age group. He said that cervical cancer, despite being the second most common cancer in women, is declining due to rising awareness and better support.
“Breast cancer is becoming one of the major causes of concern in our society. Considering the socio-economic considerations in our country, this disease can be a curse for the whole family. From diagnosis to treatment, at every stage the patient has to shell out significant sums of money. Few can afford such expenses. This is because most cases are discovered and diagnosed at an advanced stage, either due to existing stigma or a lack of awareness,” he said.
The CJI said that raising awareness is the need of the hour and that it is essential to design breast cancer awareness campaigns on the scale of cervical cancer, anti-tobacco and pulse polio campaigns.
“It is very important to educate young minds about reproductive health. This should start in schools. Another challenge related to this disease is the various myths associated with it. Social workers must work to break down existing stigmas and taboos. Early detection and screening will definitely prevent casualties,” he said.
-With PTI input