“The IMA is for holistic treatment approach for the patient”
Dr. SS Agarwal, National President of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), provides perspective on how to reach every man, woman and child in India with health services. Sanjay K Bissoyi talked to him. Excerpts:
What do you want to achieve in your term as president of IMA?
The aim of IMA was and will be to provide accessible, affordable, quality and safe healthcare to the community at large with a special emphasis on rural and semi-urban areas. And I will do my best to achieve this goal and is committed to carrying forward this legacy to a greater height.
Soon Health Ministry in collaboration with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) will form a first of its kind working group to evaluate and address major healthcare problems in the country. How do you see it?
Government’s response is positive. All IMA members will be incorporated in this initiative and they work hand in hand in the National Health Programmes jointly with the government. And this working group, proposed by JP Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, is a welcome step and IMA will leave no stone unturned in helping the government solve issues ailing the society.
How would the IMA overcome challenges afflicting it?
The IMA during the year is planning to come out with a standard management protocol and also prepare a white paper on self-regulation of doctors and allied industry. The main aim of the IMA in the current year is to work for creating trust among the government, doctors and patients.
Panchayati Raj is the need of the hour, as through it the government can reach the grassroots levels of the society. But why is the IMA against it?
IMA wants major amendments in the Clinical Establishment Act and PC-PNDT Act. The idea of the act should be to provide minimum standards of care at every level. But Panchayati Raj system creates obstacles for doctors at every level of service. The IMA is for holistic treatment approach for the patient.
Yoga is good for health. How would you promote this concept?
We should promote concept of wellness more than disease treatment and also the philosophy of Vedic medicine including yoga and mind-body therapy providing holistic health care. The collective conscious of over 2.5 lakh doctors together with the government can make a difference, which can create wonders in the healthcare delivery system in the country.
Healthcare services in Naxal-hit areas like Dantewada, Koraput etc. are in a dismal condition. How do you like to extend services to those places?
There are lack of communication between state governments and healthcare providing organisations. Once talks resume on the issues, it can easily be solved. We want to reach everywhere in the country from remote areas in the north-east, deserts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, tribal areas of the nation to terror-hit areas of Kashmir.
Air pollution in Delhi and other urban areas is posing a big concern for the fellow citizens of India. What measure do you suggest to reduce air toxicity over Delhi and other cities?
In order to battle pollution, the people should be made aware of the repercussions of not controlling pollution and only then will they be able to fight against pollution effectively. Media and other institutions should also come forward and work for a better pollution-free and green India.