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National Doctors' Day: A day to acknowledge selfless contribution of health care workers

NEW DELHI: National Doctors' Day is celebrated every year across the country on July 1. The day is celebrated to acknowledge and appreciate health care workers, and medical practitioners for their selfless contribution towards society.

The day helps us understand the importance of doctors in our lives and value them, to offer them our respects by commemorating one of their greatest representatives.

The day is celebrated annually the memory of Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy an eminent physician, academician, freedom fighter and politician. Dr Roy was the first Chief Minister of West Bengal after India gained Independence. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1961.

Doctors have always played a pivotal role in society but for the last two years, when the world was grappling with COVID-19, people have appreciated the roles of doctors and other healthcare professionals, who stood at the forefront day and night in the fight against the pandemic. Hundreds of doctors across the world put their own lives in danger, putting their own safety and that of their families second to that of the general public.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also appreciated their heroic efforts during the pandemic and paid homage to those who laid down their lives in the service of humanity.

This year, National Doctor's Day is very significant as doctors continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic day and night. This is the third time that the day is being celebrated amid the pandemic.

This year the day has once again been dedicated to all those doctors and healthcare professionals. The theme of National Doctors Day 2022 is "Family Doctors on the Front Line".

Pointing out the role of a family doctor, Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director of Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals said that the role of a family physician has been undermined severely.

"While many diseases and specialities have emerged in the last three decades, the role of a family physician has been undermined severely. We are seeing some gaps in healthcare delivery because of this missing link. People's healthcare needs often get suppressed in multispecialty healthcare settings. It has been seen that they need a person who can address their apprehensions about their health and guide them to take preventive steps to maintain their wellbeing and take timely action during illness. While there is a specialist for every part of the body, how would a common person know when to go to a specialist and which specialist is appropriate? That's where the role of a family doctor in our society comes into play and we are celebrating their importance this doctor's day," Dr Bajaj said.

Talking about increasing cases of mental health problems, Dr Jyoti Kapoor, Founder and Senior Psychiatrist of Manasthali said that the erratic work schedules, risk of exposure to infection and limited interaction with family members and loved ones have made people suffer from anxiety, depression, burnout, insomnia and stress-related disorders.

"Therefore, it becomes essential to work towards the lessening of their mental health problems. Enabling them to communicate effectively, mental health problem screening, making quarantine/isolation less restrictive and ensuring interpersonal communication through the various digital platforms and proactively curtailing the misinformation/rumour spread by the media are some of the potential measures. People can work upon their mental health by taking care of their own health, doing meditation and taking a break from the news on media and social media. make sure that we are connected with our family and friends through social media and phone," said Dr Kapoor.

India's public healthcare system only has 0.08 doctors for every 1000 patients, Dr Sameer Kulkarni, Regional Director, Paras Healthcare said that there is a shortage of more than 6 lakh doctors in India.

"As we observe Doctors Day, it's vital to remember that the country's public healthcare system only has 0.08 doctors for every 1000 patients. These alarming numbers continue to decline rather than rise. Currently, there is a shortage of more than 6 lakh doctors in India. This has a significant impact on how well the country's healthcare is delivered, particularly in rural areas where a strong infrastructure is still lacking. The average man suffers greatly since he cannot receive proper diagnosis and treatment due to a lack of doctors, both general practitioners, and specialists," said Dr Kulkarni.

Dr Kulkarni further said that the urgent need is to encourage more young people to pursue this noble profession, as well as to strengthen healthcare education in India so that world-class competent medical physicians graduate each year.

"This year's Doctors Day theme is 'Family Doctors on the Front Line'. Family physicians serve as "gatekeepers" in the effort to contain outbreaks because they are frequently the first to interact with patients. When COVID hit India, they were the first to report infections and advised the patients on the value of immunization, isolation, and finding the appropriate treatment. They also switched to telemedicine and gave families in danger all the assistance they could when the entire country shut down due to lockdown. Family doctors also counselled patients who were suffering from the symptoms of post-COVID during these trying two years. As we celebrate Doctors Day, it is vital to remember their significance and how they led from the front when COVID struck India," Dr Kulkarni added.

Dr Ritu Sethi, Senior Consultant- Gynaecology, Cloud Nine Hospital, Sector 14 Gurugram and Apex Clinic, Sector 31, Gurugram, said that on this Doctor's Day they aim for a holistic approach to health for all individuals. This deals with preventive aspects, accurate diagnosis and timely treatment.

"Gynaecologists and obstetricians play a major role in all preventable aspects like timely follow-ups for genetically inherited gynae cancers (breast and ovary) or pre-conceptional counselling to prevent diseases in the growing fetus or lifestyle diseases in the woman planning to conceive especially during her pregnancy. The obstetrician has a major role to play in determining the optimum growth of the fetus in the womb as the environment in the uterus has a major role to play in the development of the fetus not only during pregnancy but also childhood, adolescence and even adulthood. So, prevent, treat and follow up is the mantra all doctors follow," said Dr Sethi.


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