Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President of India at the 8th Convocation of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi on April 26, 2018.

New Delhi | April 26, 2018

“It is indeed a pleasure to preside over the Convocation of one of the best medical institutions in the country. This hospital, located in a heritage building, has been serving the people for the past 75 years. Starting with 50 beds initially, it has now grown into a 1427 bedded state-of-the-art tertiary care medical institute.

I am glad to learn that the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, which was, established in 2008 with 28 PG seats and two super-specialty seats, has expanded into an institution with 160 PG and 25 super-specialty seats.

I am sure the students who are passing out today will be proud of having undergone training in this august institute.

Education and healthcare are the two pillars of nation building. The fact that you have chosen this profession casts an onerous responsibility in building not only a ‘Swasth Bharat but also a Shresth Bharat’. As members of a noble profession, the Hippocratic oath taken by you must be the guiding light for you at all times. Always maintain the highest standards of ethics and morals and never compromise on them. You are next to God for patients, who come to you. Never betray their trust. Always, treat them with patience, empathy and compassion.

Dear students! India has made rapid strides in various sectors, including the medical field. However, even after 70 years, we are facing many challenges including poverty, illiteracy, atrocities on women and girls, problem of drinking water in many rural and urban areas, lack of hygiene and sanitation, casteism, corruption and urban-rural divide.

While the Government is committed to providing universal health coverage to all, the urban-rural divide is more glaring in the healthcare sector.

As you all are aware, the country is facing an acute shortage of doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff. The growth and expansion of medical facilities have been extremely lop-sided with most of the hi-tech and modern hospitals located in cities in government as well as private sector. Although governments have been addressing this problem, concerted efforts are needed from all stakeholders to remedy the situation and ensure adequate and proper healthcare facilities in rural areas. The private sector, NGOs and doctors organizations need to supplement the efforts of the governments in this regard.

To overcome the problem of manpower shortage in rural areas, I have been wondering if we should make it mandatory for MBBS graduates to work in the rural areas before getting their first promotion. This would enable the rural population to get better medical care and at the same time sensitize the medical fraternity to the healthcare concerns of rural population.

Another area of concern is the affordability of medicare. It is a fact that medical costs are met by people though out-of-pocket expenditure most of the time. Time and again, high treatment costs have virtually forced innumerable families into debt traps and reduced them to penury. The government had recently announced Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Scheme to provide universal health coverage through insurance. The scheme is envisaged to benefit 10 crore families. In view of the low penetration of health insurance, I am sure institutions like yours will act as nodal centers for such an initiative in providing quality health care to all. In another major initiative, the government also announced plans to eliminate TB.

Several State Governments too have designed their own health insurance schemes. In the end, the aim is to ensure that no person is denied the right to affordable medical care. As I have stated earlier, the private sector must join hands with the government to ensure that healthcare is accessible and affordable.

It is heartening that the Government is also providing low cost and high quality medicines to all patients and the Amrit Pharmacy in Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital is an endeavor in this direction. Since many patients hail from far off place and even from different states, the hospital has commissioned a Dharamshala for them. I am happy to learn that besides a number of such patient-centric initiatives, you are carrying forward the Swatch Bharat initiative of the Prime Minister in true spirit, linking health with sanitation and hygienic practices.

It is heartening to note that the associated Dr. RML hospital is also making steady advances in improving patient care. The hospital has also inducted latest state of the art technology like Multi Tesla MRI, New CT Scan and Tholium laser. We must fully harness the power of advanced technology to improve diagnostics and treatment.

As I have stated earlier, you-- medical practitioners are the pillar for a healthy India. You are part of the academic cream of the society and now when you are passing out, the whole nation has great expectations from you. At the same time, you must realize that this degree is a dividend of an immense investment the nation has made on you. So, with the knowledge, skills and talent you have acquired in this institute, you must be the torchbearer in mitigating the sufferings and ailment of the people.

This hospital attracts patients from the city and from neighboring states as well. They visit this hospital with unwavering belief that they will be cured by the marvel of modern medicine. The poorest of poor are among those who come to this hospital. They are the ones who not only need your knowledge and skill but also your kind words and a patient ear. At the same time they are ones who treat you only next to the almighty and give you the opportunity to further deepen your knowledge about the mysteries of human body and the marvel of medical science.

I am sure you have been trained under a very proficient faculty and a world-class postgraduate teaching program and research facility. In this temple of learning, you have been exposed to frontline medical technology, witnessed state of the art operations like organ transplant, limb re-implantation, neonatal operations, brain and cardiac surgery, participated in investigation and treatment of challenging ailments.

Surely, the knowledge you have gained here will equip you to confidently face the future challenges. I congratulate you all for having the illustrious institutions like PGIMER & Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital as your alma mater.

Tomorrow when you walk out of these gates to build a career, you must fulfill the aspirations of your family, society and the nation. In this vast country, opportunities are plenty for a good doctor. Equally numerous are your options. You can be a clinician, surgeon, researcher, a health care administrator or a forensic investigator. Whatever be your choice, follow ethics and keep learning so that you are always abreast of the latest advances in medical sciences. Remember that this noble profession is a unique blend of science and humanity. Never leave your human aspect while treating a patient.

You are the trailblazers of a Healthy India. My best wishes for all your future endeavors!

Thank you. Jai Hind!”