Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President of India at the 30th Convocation of Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, in Chennai on July 08, 2018.

Chennai | July 8, 2018

"I am happy to be with all of you on this 30th convocation of the Tamilnadu Dr. MGR Medical University.

Convocation is an important day in the lives of young graduates who have completed their courses and are stepping out into the world of professional careers.

It is also an important day in the lives and careers of the faculty members who see this as a culmination of a year of professional growth.

It is a memorable day for the parents of the children graduating today because it is a fulfillment of their dreams to see their children succeed.

It is a milestone for the institution itself because each year in the life of a University adds many alumni who will potentially raise the stature of that University with their performance.

Dear sisters and brothers,

Tamil Nadu has been one of the leading states in the country in providing health care to its people. I am glad that Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, one of the largest Medical Universities in the country, has continuously been striving to set and maintain high standards of medical education.

It has been a pace setter in many ways and has successfully started new courses in medicine and allied health sciences according to the needs of the society and the emerging disease patterns.

This university is also focusing on streamlining and skill training of the graduates in allied health sciences which forms the backbone of the entire medical field.

I am glad that the curriculum for allied health has been designed to incorporate the latest technology to make the student familiar with the operation of these latest equipments like dialysis machines and heart lung machine.

I have been informed by the Vice Chancellor that this University is much sought after by students by SAARC countries for skilled training.

I am told that the university is forging partnerships with developed countries like Australia to offer programs in public health. This is the need of the day.

We need to learn from the best minds in the world. We must offer the best learning environment to our students.

We cannot grow if we are insulated and isolated. We cannot contribute to the world of knowledge if we are unaware of the state-of-the-art in any discipline.

As the great saint-poet Tiruvalluvar had said: “In sandy soil, when deep you delve, you reach the springs below; the more you learn, the freer streams of wisdom flow.”

The faculty should encourage the students to delve deeper. This will be possible only if the faculty members are themselves good listeners and good lifelong learners.

Dear sisters and brothers, India has, according to the latest data, 479 medical colleges, out of which 227 are being run by government and 252 are in private sector with annual admission capacity of 67,532 MBBS and 31,415 post graduate students per year. Besides, there are 6,848 DNB seats which are equivalent to MD/MS.

While the system is expanding and the government as well as the private sector is focusing on increasing the number of medical colleges, the essential question that we need to ask ourselves is about the quality of medical education.

Medical professionals are different as compared to other professionals. They are looked upon as demi-gods by people because they make a difference between the life and death of patients, between their ill health and well being.

The society in India has had a reverential attitude towards doctors and this respect is born out of the competence of the medical fraternity and the belief that doctors advice comes from a pure, objective concern for the well being of the patient.

This competence and the ability to render honest medical advice are at the heart of good, ethical medical practice.

Dear students,

You have all put in your best of your efforts to gain knowledge in the last few years you spent in this university. You have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills to make you a qualified doctor.

As you enter the exciting world of professional practice, you will undoubtedly have exciting opportunities to use the competencies you have acquired.

You will also have nervous moments of uncertainty as to what should the diagnosis and treatment be.

In those moments, be guided not only by what you have read and mastered during your course here, but also by the wise counsel of your seniors and the friendly suggestions from your peers.

Under any circumstances, you must not swerve away from the path of dedicated, focused attention to patient welfare.

Dear faculty members,

It is indeed a proud moment for all of you as your students graduate and blossom into sound medical professionals. I am sure you have not only imparted the essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for their continued progress in their careers but have also kindled the fire of curiosity and innovation within them that will make them seekers of knowledge throughout their lives.

You must collectively build on the good work done by your predecessors. Even for the best, there is always a possibility to become better.

The quality of education in our medical colleges is the life blood of India’s healthy future.

We must ensure that it is clean and provides the required vitality to the entire healthcare system in our country.

I would urge you to consider the entire gamut of issues that impact quality. There is a need for greater focus on teaching and testing clinical skills, on knowledge of new domains of medical science, on fully using the power of technology and enhancing the students’ communication and leadership skills.

Sisters and brothers,

India has been making a steady progress in improving the healthcare status of its population. For example, the life expectancy of a person born in India in 1960 was 40 years, which has increased to about 70 years now. Of every 1000 live children born in India in 1960, about 160 died in the first year, but now this death rate of infants is about a fourth of that level.

However, there are a number of challenges that have to be addressed. Nearly 12 % of deaths are due to heart disease. Lung disease and strokes are also major cause of deaths. Out of every 1000 new born children, 53 are not surviving beyond their fifth birthday. Stunting and malnutrition continue to be problematic.

These broad trends however do not reveal the full picture because they don’t indicate the existing major inequalities between states and between people in various socioeconomic strata.

I am glad that the Government of India and the State Governments are focusing on these issues.

In order to provide affordable, good quality healthcare for all, the Union Government is launching “Ayushman Bharat”. This is National Health Protection Scheme, which will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage up to 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. This will help the people to access good quality health care and also greatly reduce the financial burden on the vulnerable sections of India’s population. This is also likely to spur the growth in medical infrastructure.

While the world is moving towards more and better medical equipments including robotic surgery and the governments as well as philanthropists are setting up medical colleges and hospitals, the system cannot function without doctors and para-medical staff.

The healing touch can be only through human interface. The deep understanding and empathy with which you administer medicines and render advice makes all the difference. The quality of healthcare depends mainly on the quality of health care professionals.

Dear sisters and brothers,

You all have a unique opportunity to serve our people and transform India into a healthy nation. You have been contributing to this aim over the last three decades. You have a number of emerging opportunities in the present Indian context. You must be agile to adopt and adapt the best global practices for the benefit of our population. You must constantly set more ambitious goals and strive to achieve them.

Let me leave you with an inspiring thought from Sage Tiruvalluvar:

“When the rare chance comes, seize it; to do the rare deed”.

All the very best in your resolve and endeavor to do the rare deeds.

Jai Hind!"