“Yes, Aamir cries every Sunday and maybe that”s good for us”- A Doctor’s Take On Healthcare Issues Raised

Posted on May 30, 2012 in Society

By Dr. Bhavna Mittal:

“Why does Aamir cry every Sunday”– I read the article heading in the TOI and chuckled. The article very rightly pointed out how Aamir’s expressions and gestures in Satyamev Jayate always seem so clichéd, repetitive and typical. He nods his head to the point of annoyance.

The first episode brought forward an important issue no doubt- as a health professional and a woman, it was an issue very close to my heart and so like most other Indians I watched the telecast and I cried and hoped and prayed that maybe just maybe the mindset of even a few would change towards the heinous practice of female foeticide. Wishful thinking? Probably- I guess that’s why I never went back for more and reading the article, the cynic in me knew that I had made the right decision by giving episodes 2 and 3 a miss.

But last night a friend said- ‘You’ve got to watch the recent episode- it’s about healthcare’. I was intrigued and thought —okay let me just watch parts of it on YouTube before I sleep. Of course, I noticed the seemingly rehearsed reactions by the audience and the super star himself but not only did I watch the whole episode, I was glad I did.

I loved how the concept of generic medicines was described- simply and aptly. The speakers were knowledgeable, even humorous and the work done by the research team was commendable. A lot of issues pertinent to healthcare delivery in India were brought forward in a structured and simplified manner.

I liked that the issue of capitation fee was raised, hospitals have come to be run like family businesses but honestly I don’t see any improvement on this front at all.

And ‘Cut’ or Commission practice and wooing by pharmaceutical companies does exist and its wrong and unethical. But it seemed a little unfair that a doctor practicing abroad was voicing his concerns from greener pastures.

I don’t endorse the unethical practices nor do I give the excuse of the hard work, time and money they put in to get their degrees, after all its the same all over the world but in India such situations arise because:-

  • Doctors are not paid well, period.
  • Our country lacks a structured legal system, doctors know that their practices are untouchable and this gives way to floundering principles
  • Health is not a priority for the government and even the public at large. Not much progress can be made in a country where the health ministers are not really qualified for the job.

It’s silly to expect a doctor to be holier than thou. Healthcare is still a noble profession but it’s also an industry and accepting that doesn’t mean one is defying the medical code of ethics.

As I watched the show, I thought to myself – Why don’t they discuss the Yeshaswini model and just then I saw the legend himself in the audience. It’s always a pleasure to hear Dr Devi Shetty talk and he was right when he said that micro health insurance can prove to be a boon for the Indian diaspora considering that we have the advantage of volume when it comes to medical procedures and usage of medical equipment.

Even the song in the end was moving and it moved me to see tears in the eyes of Dr Shetty, a man who has done so much, probably seen much more. It was a lesson in humility for healthcare professionals in totum and not just doctors. We too have so much to do and most importantly we should make an attempt to contribute simply because we can.

As for Aamir, I no longer care if he’s over paid or that the show is riding on his back to a large extent. As long as it helps to create even some awareness, enlightens the public and questions the integrity of corrupted offcials; I have no problem with watching Aamir cry every Sunday, in fact i’ll look forward to it.