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Quackery begins where awareness ends: CJI NV Ramana

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The Chief Justice of India NV Ramana highlighting the relevance of bringing up and addressing the matters pertaining to the issue of fraudulent healthcare services that patients fall prey to.

On the inaugural address of the National Academy of Medical Sciences’ (NAMS, Delhi) public oration on ‘Law and Medicine’ today the CJI addressed the gathering.

Talking in the context of the rise of quackery in India, the CJI Ramana explained,

“Quackery begins where awareness ends. Where there is room for myths, there is room for quackery. Quackery is the biggest disease affecting India. Owing to the financial and time constraints, a huge majority of Indian population approaches these untrained and uncertified doctors. Lack of awareness and knowledge, misplaced belief, and sheer inaccessibility has massive ramifications on the health of the country, particularly the rural and under-privileged IndiaNeed of the hour is to bring in a legislation to save people from falling prey to fraudulent practices in the name of treatment.”

In his speech, the CJI mentioned that the practice of medicine was the bridge between science and technology, and the human mind and body. Talking further about the prevalent system , the CJI said that he would speak about certain aspects of the medical education system in the country after his retirement.

The CJI’s speech touched a very important aspect pertaining to the attacks on doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic.He said that it was during the Covid times when the doctors who were busy serving the people were  threatened, abused, attacked, and shunned. Despite this also they continued working on the front lines and did their duty with utmost care and patience. He said it is very unfortunate.

He also spoke about the false cases that are being lodged against upright and hardworking doctors. They need a better, and more secure, working environment. We must foster an environment where more young people want to become doctors to serve Indian society.”He added that the doctor should be given incentives to remain in India as some developments are leading to a massive brain drain of medical practioners in India

Talking about the importance of safeguarding the health of citizens, which he said the Constitution-makers laid great emphasis on.The CJI said that the courts  have played significant role in realizing the goals and shaping the health care policies of our country. He further said that the Directive Principles have placed emphasis on the minutest details of health, nutrition, working conditions and welfare. In addition to the Directive Principles, the Constitution, in 11th and 12th schedules, places an obligation to provide safe drinking water, sanitation and adequate healthcare upon the local bodies.”

Talking about his profession and that of the Doctors he said that a good lawyer, like a good doctor, must always work earnestly towards imbibing and accumulating greater knowledge. The possibilities for growth in both fields are seemingly endless. Both medicine and law are the oldest professions in the world. They arise from basic necessities of dignified human existence. People place their faith in lawyers and doctors alike, trusting that they will act in best interests of those who approach them.”

He  emphasised on the  commercialisation of healthcare which  needs to be checked.

“Private hospitals are being opened at an exponential rate. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but there is a glaring need for balance. We are seeing hospitals being run like companies, where profit making is more important than service to society. Due to this, hospitals and doctors alike are desensitized towards the plight of patients. They are just numbers for them. This trend has also spread monopoly and is deepening the inequities in access to health care.”

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