• Multi-pronged Preparedness Cushioned COVID Impact in India, But Need Empathy from Society

    • July 3, 2020
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    Leading names in the medical community attending the ‘Gratitude Week – A Tribute to Health Guardians’by Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) Council today highlighted how multi-pronged preparedness to tackle medical and non-medical problems of the pandemic have helped in the recent months and that doctors deserve and need empathy from society to continue.“We have observed that the problems faced by people are more non-medical in nature and includes social and economic problems which have made mental health an important factor in our fight against COVID. We anticipated it early on and were asked to prepare a helpline for psycho-social issues –this helpline has received 7.5 lakh calls from all over India till now. Our government has been fairly responsive and timely action by the health department responding to COVID and psycho-social distress helped a lot. In future, lifestyle measures will become important to overcome the pandemic,” says Dr B.N. Gangadhar, Director, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru. Highlighting that the pandemic has not been able to bridge the trust deficit between doctors and patients, Dr Rajinder K. Dhamija, Head of Neurology Department, Lady Hardinge Hospital, New Delhi says, “The pandemic has underlined that our focus on advanced healthcare is not enough and the need to focus on primary and secondary care at the district level is very important. However, it calls for ‘Jan Bhagidari’ – people need to participate to enable doctors to discharge their duty. But the trust deficit between doctors and patients remains – there were incidents of violence in hospitals in the past, so we have these boards saying attacking doctors on duty is a criminal offence. When the pandemic came in, the government enacted a law criminalising attack on healthcare workers, but time will tell if it will work. We need to do more at society level, need to work collectively and follow the guidelines – these are evidence-based recommendations, we should realise and follow the principle of ‘I protect you and you protect me’.”


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