Never be content or complacent with status quo: Vice President tells Doctors

The Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu has advised the graduating Doctors to be never content on complacent with status quo and yearn to learn and learn to innovate. He was addressing the 19th Convocation of the National Board of Examinations, in New Delhi today. The Ministers of State for Health & Family Welfare, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Smt. Anupriya Patel and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.  

Congratulating the young doctors who were graduating as the ‘Diplomates of the National Board’, the Vice President remarked that they were about to undertake a fascinating voyage that would offer them rewards of recognition, service and personal fulfilment, while helping them improve the quality of human lives. He extolled the objectivity, thoroughness and the rigour of the examination process of the National Board of Exams, he said that the graduates who acquire the DNB qualification are as good, if not better than those who acquire MD, MS, DM and other equivalent degrees.

The Vice President said that education is a life-long learning process, especially when it comes to the Medical Field where breakthroughs and advancements happen rapidly. Medical scientists, epidemiologists and clinicians, must continue their experiments with truth and strive to extend the frontiers of scientific and medical knowledge, he added.

The Vice President told the Graduates to always be observant and curious and to keep up their Scientific temper. This Scientific temper, he said, was a grand tradition in India right from the times of Charaka and Sushruta. He implored the young doctors to never be content with status quo and to continually yearn to learn and learn to innovate. He advised them to be knowledgeable, skilful, and above all, generous and caring, making empathy and service their basic approach. He went on to say that Medicine was a mission and quoted Mahatma Gandhi’s words, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’, encouraging the Doctors to make service their life’s motto.

Before closing his address, the Vice President raised three problems, that deserved the undivided attention of Healthcare professionals. He spoke about the urban-rural divide and added that rural India suffered from a lack of access to medical facilities, especially specialist care. He encouraged the young doctors who are at the prime of their career to dedicate themselves to serve the un-served and reach the un-reachable rural population and to ensure equity in access to health care facilities.

The Vice President noted that in spite of progress on the economic front, there have been many instances in which families have been driven into penury due to huge medical costs incurred on the treatment of their dear ones. He added that every effort should be made by the Medical fraternity to aid the government’s initiatives such as ‘Ayushman Bharat’ to provide good quality healthcare at affordable prices. Recalling the golden period of Medicine in India during the times of Charaka, Jeevaka and Sushruta, he told the Doctors that it was time to make India the Global Leader in Healthcare once again.

The Vice President emphasized upon the role that is to be played by holistic health practices including yoga and Ayurveda in complimenting Modern Medicine and in making India the most trusted healthcare destination of the world. He wished the Young Graduates a satisfying career for themselves and said that he hoped for a brighter, healthier future for India and the world.  

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

“It gives me a great pleasure to be here with you and share my thoughts. It is truly a day of celebration as it marks the completion of a major chapter in your lives as you commence a new voyage. A new voyage equipped with the credentials of reputed organization. It will be a voyage that offers a reward of recognition, service and personal fulfilment. You, graduates who have taken this challenging voyage, have done so because you have felt it answers an inner urge in you to improve the quality of human lives.

This voyage is most demanding and calls for commitment and hard work, discipline and dedication. It is not easy.

But when one chooses a path that one likes, the turbulent waters don’t deter us. The journey becomes so much enjoyable. The challenges are seen as opportunities. I congratulate each one of you on choosing this fascinating journey and wish you well as you embark on it after crossing a major academic milestone.

Indeed, it is a day of great happiness, joy and cheer for you and your families. It is also an equally big day for the teachers who helped you acquire new knowledge and skills.

Today is a day to celebrate your achievement and also the contribution made by the National Board of Examinations which has been setting higher benchmarks of excellence with each passing year since 1982. It is an organization that has stood for exacting standards of professional competence. Thanks to the consistent effort of this Board, the graduate who acquire the DNB qualification are as good if not better than those who acquire MD, MS, DM and MCh degrees. I am told that a candidate has to pass the theory exam independently before qualifying for clinical exam and the clinical competence is evaluated byfour external examiners. So, there is objectivity, rigour and credibility in the entire process.

I compliment each of the new graduates on your success in acquiring this badge of honour. It is a recognition that is well earned.

I hope it will be only a good beginning of a long journey that will bring you many more laurels through out your professional life.

The knowledge, skill and competence that youhave acquired certainly a long way in easing and alleviating the pain and suffering of a vast number of people and bring them good health and joy.

At the same time, it is also a day of introspection for all of you as you chalk out your future plans. Remember that education is a life-long learning process—the quest for acquiring new knowledge and skills—has no boundaries or limits. This is particularly true of medical education, where new breakthroughsand   advancements make it incumbent upon all of you to constantly update your learning.

As medical scientists, epidemiologists and clinicians, you must  continue your experiments with truth and extend the frontiers of scientific and medical knowledge. 

Dear young friends, always be observant and curious. Build a scientific temper. Develop the intrinsic virtues of inquiry, exploration, analysis, discussion, patience, tolerance, humanism and an inclusive outlook. It is these qualities which shall take you far. Knowledge, tempered with such values will always stand in you in good stead, sharpen your intellect and above all will make you a good human being.

It is this spirit of scientific thinking from times immemorial, from the days of Sushruta and Charaka to the modern day luminaries in medicine has brought us where we are today.

You must continue and enrich the grand tradition and for this, it is crucial for you to develop critical thinking and expand your horizons of knowledge.

Never be content or complacent with status quo. Yearn to learn and learn to innovate.

As voyagers, be conscious of the moral compass that will guide you to your cherished goals.

Be knowledgeable, be skilful, but be generous, and be caring. Make empathy and service your basic approach. As the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi had said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. That should be the motto of doctors. Patients, who come to consult doctors, seek solace and advice from them. They need empathy, comforting words and a human touch.

I wish you the very best in your journey ahead. The 18th century French philosopher, Voltaire had said this about physicians, and I quote: “Men, who are occupied in the restoration of health to other men, by the joint exertion of skill and humanity, are above all the great of the earth. They even partake of divinity, since to preserve and renew is almost as noble as to create.” This is the same perspective as India from time immemorial has held. We have said, “Viadyo narayano Harih” (doctors are like Narayana, the god who protects and preserves).

May each one of you excel in your life’s mission and preserve and renew the human lives you touch. However, before I close, let me briefly share with you my concerns on three key themes, each of which is related to the other.

A large part of Indian population lives in rural India. Despite several governmental initiatives, we have been unable to provide adequate healthcare facilities to our rural people, the farmers and their families who feed us. At present, most parts of rural India have limited access to specialist healthcare, and this crisis partly stems from reluctance of our doctors to go and work in rural centres. The time has come for you to change this situation and consider serving these unserved populations.

Secondly, it should be noted that despite the progress on economic front, public and private financial resources continue to be scarce and we must look at delivering healthcare at an affordable cost. We must find ways and means to ensure that every citizen benefits from the advancements in medicine. There have been many instances in which families have been driven into penury and debt-traps due to huge medical costs incurred on the treatment of their dear ones.

In view of the low penetration of medical health insurance and an estimated 62.58 per cent of the people meeting medical and hospitalization expenses on their own, the Union Government has conceived of “Ayushman Bharat” aiming to provide financial protection to 10.74 crore deprived rural families by offering a benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. It covers almost all secondary and most of the tertiary care expenses. Thus, it is expected to provide a fillip to India’s goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage.

As doctors, you have an unprecedented opportunity to serve and be a part of this inclusive growth that India is aiming for with sharp focus on cleanliness and affordable healthcare.

And finally, I would like to advise you to think, innovate, create new paradigms, new ideas and new technologies in healthcare and turn India into a trailblazer in this field. The world must look up to us.  In my most recent visits to Serbia, Malta and Romania, I noticed how valued our healthcare professionals are in the world.

I think we should once again be the global leaders in healthcare, just as we were thousands of years ago, in the times of Sushruta, Jeevak and Charak. Medical tourism is becoming a reality and many people from different corners of the world are coming to India for treatment. In addition, there are a number of people who are looking towards India for holistic health practices including yoga and Ayurveda that can complement allopathic medicine.

You have, therefore, an exciting journey ahead. Set sail with confidence, competence, courage and commitment.

You must set your sights high and aim for a building a satisfying career for yourself and a brighter, healthier future for our country and the world.

Make India a trusted healthcare destination and lend a healing touch to the suffering humanity, a touch that only you can give with your knowledge, skills and attitude.

As the Vedic sages had said, let me wish you all the very best and say “Let there be freedom from disease. Let there be all round well being. Let your path be full of goodness”.

JAI HIND!”

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AKT/BK/MS/RK

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