Doctor's Day (1 July): Partnerships between patients and doctors will improve healthcare

Partnerships between patients and doctors will improve healthcare

Today on Doctor's Day (1 July), the doctors of Indian Medical Association (IMA) in Lucknow are advocating for safer work environment in wake of recent upping of attacks on healthcare institutions in the UP state capital and other cities in UP too.

Doctors Day came into being in 1991 when the Government of India recognised July 1, the birth as well as death anniversary of Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy.

"Fifty-seven countries, most of them in Africa and Asia, face a severe health workforce crisis. WHO estimates that at least 2,360,000 health service providers and 1,890,000 management support workers, or a total of 4,250,000 health workers, are needed to fill the gap. In India too, the shortage of health workers is palpable, and may become acute in coming years. Without prompt action, the shortage will worsen" said Professor (Dr) Rama Kant, who is an International Awardee (2005) of World Health Organization (WHO) and President-elect of Lucknow College of Surgeons (LCS).

"In general, there is a lack of adequate staff in rural areas compared to cities" said Prof Kant.

"There is a direct relationship between the ratio of health workers to population and survival of women during childbirth and children in early infancy. As the number of health workers declines, survival declines proportionately" explains Prof Kant.

Prof Kant is the former Chief Medical Superintendent of Gandhi Memorial & Associated Hospitals (GM & AH), and present Head of the Department of Surgery at Chhattrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU, formerly King George's Medical College).

Pressing health needs across the globe cannot be met without a well-trained, adequate and available health workforce.

The health-related millennium development goals which India has committed to achieve by 2015, aim to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria, and ensure access to essential medicines. The health worker shortage has been a major impediment to making progress on meeting these goals.

"Moreover, sudden catastrophic events like accidents, or natural calamities like floods, can quickly overwhelm local and national health systems already suffering from staff shortages or lack of funds" said Prof Kant.

"We need more direct investment in the training and support of health workers" said Prof Kant.

Better strategies to more actively engage communities and patients in their own health care will help improve the situation. Partnerships between patients and health workers can improve the quality of care and health outcomes.

Published in

Central Chronicle, Madhya Pradesh/ Chhattisgarh

The Seoul Times, Seoul, South Korea