Wednesday February 21, 2018

Media reporting of medical doctors are not gospel TRUTHS

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By Dr. J.K. Bhutani

It was there earlier too but became prominent and absurdly clichéd with the broadcast of Aamir Khan’s show Satyamev Jayate in 2012. The rot of some unethical doctors was generalised and made a gospel truth for the ‘not-so-informed’ illiterate and naive millions in India. It has been a falling grace ever since. Every day the news channels and print media, especially vernacular press is full of filth and bias directed towards the medical profession and the hospitals. All Government sector setups, private hospital and small clinics are projected and shown as butcher shops and all the doctors manning these are devils and Draculas.

Doctors stethoscope

The disgrace and distrust are unending it seems. so much so that 78 per cent of doctor parents recently asked about the choice of the career for their kids RESOLVED not to make their wards doctors in future. The ‘Why I will never allow my child to become a doctor in India’ blog, which became a cult and fashion read of the high, mighty and the middle class is becoming an educative pamphlet for the medical personnel before selecting the careers of their children.

Is it really so bad and is the end of the tunnel dead and abyss?

In India we have just 2 percent of the annual budget for public health, and with an average ratio of one doctor for every 1700 patients, the public health system is overburdened and overstretched. The practice of amazing skill, compassion and the state-of-the-art medical care, 24×7 everyday all through the year is not an easy task and when the whole world recognises the prowess and the gifted skills of Indian doctors and India is on the verge of Medical Tourism hub of the world, WHY our media finds only flaws, faults and sins in our doctors.

The life of a doctor is not all hard work, labour and bad press, it is much more. Each day can be a realisation and revelation of God and of the humbling healing powers of faith, love and compassion. The pride of being a doctor is precious. The suffering, if any, is by choice and the material benefits are incidental. A good doctor is the BEST a human being can be.

Instead of drawing unfair generalizations, let us join and resolve to press for the followings from the government, media and the public.

  1. All medical reporting in print, broadcast, television and social media be done by qualified journalists who know the nuances and ever-evolving medical science’s miracles and the yet imperfect scenarios and limits. All journalists reporting with a bias or yellow journalism motives should be appropriately reprimanded or punished.
  2. All the cases of medical negligence put up in the Consumer or the civil courts should be decided after having the expert opinion of the subject specialist from the teaching medical colleges or the best would be if some judges are trained in the medical sciences too.
  3. All state and the central governments should try to inculcate and encourage the scientific temper in the school curricula and the government media services. There should be a couple of broadcast Television channels or a web resource for spreading the scientific rational of the diseases and the benefits and the limitation of the science. Above all, the governments need to strengthen the public health care services to reach the maximum populace and integrate the private sector with more insurance inclusions.

JK1

Dr J.K. Bhutani MD is a protagonist of preventive and promotive health care based on austere biology and facilitating self healing powers of human organism.
You can follow him at  https://twitter.com/drjkbhutani

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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How telecom has become driver of economic change in India

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The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front.
The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. Wikimedia Commons
  • India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution
  • The sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991
  • India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world

For the most part of human history, the change was glacial in pace. It was quite safe to assume that the world at the time of your death would look pretty much similar to the one at the time of your birth. That is no longer the case, and the pace of change seems to be growing exponentially. Futurist Ray Kurzweil put it succinctly when he wrote in 2001: “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” Since the time of his writing, a lot has changed, especially with the advent of the internet.

India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution. The country’s hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. In fact, according to Reserve Bank of India data, the sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991, growing by over 10 percent. On the other hand, no other sector has had a productivity growth of above five percent during the same period. It is no wonder that it has also been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Indian economy, growing at over seven percent in the last decade itself.

Also Read: Social Media in India: Understanding The Dynamics of ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’

Such an unprecedented pace of growth has been brought about the precise levels of change that Kurzweil was so enthusiastic about. Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Meanwhile, India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world, which has hit rock bottom after the entry of Reliance Jio. This has ensured access to those even at the bottom of the pyramid.

A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country.
A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. Wikimedia Commons

Even though consumers have come to be accustomed to fast-paced changes within the telecom sector, the entry of Jio altered the face of the industry like never before by changing the very basis of competition. Data became the focal point of competition for an industry that derived over 75 percent of its revenue from voice. It was quite obvious that there would be immediate economic effects due to it. Now that we’re nearing a year of Jio’s paid operations, during which time it has even become profitable, we saw it fit to quantify its socio-economic impact on the country. Three broad takeaways need to be highlighted.

Also Read: Quoting WhatsApp message renders ‘delete’ feature ineffective

First, the most evident effect has been the rise in affordability of calling and data services. Voice services have become practically costless while data prices have dropped from an average of Rs 152 per GB to lower than Rs 10 per GB. Such a drastic reduction in data prices has not only brought the internet within the reach of a larger proportion of the Indian population but has also allowed newer segments of society to use and experience it for the first time. Since the monthly saving of an average internet user came out to be Rs 142 per month (taking a conservative estimate that the consumer is still using 1 GB of data each month) and there are about 350 million mobile internet users in the country (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data), the yearly financial savings for the entire country comes out to be Rs 60,000 crore.

To put things in perspective, this amount is more than four times the entire GDP of Bhutan. Therefore, mere savings by the consumer on data has been at astonishing proportions.

Today's smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons
Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons

Now, this data has been used for services that have brought to life a thriving app economy within the country. So, the second level of impact has been in the redressal of a variety of consumer needs — ranging from education, health and entertainment to banking. For instance, students in remote areas can now access online courseware and small businesses can access newer markets. Information asymmetry has been considerably reduced.

Third, a rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. These effects arise not merely from the creation of an internet economy, but also due to the synergy effects it generates. Information becomes more accessible and communication a lot easier. Businesses find it easier to operate and access consumers. Labour working in cities has to make less frequent trips home and becomes more productive as a result. Education and health services become available in inaccessible locations. Multiple avenues open up for knowledge and skill enhancement.

Also Read: Facebook to ‘Signal’ news gathering for journos

An econometric analysis for the Indian economy showed that the 15 percent increase in internet penetration due to Jio and the spill-over effects it creates will raise the per capita levels of the country’s GDP by 5.85 percent, provided all else remains constant.

Thus, India’s telecom sector will continue to drive the economy forward, at least in the short run, and hopefully catapult India into 20,000 years of progress within this century, as Kurzweil postulated. The best approach for the state would be to ensure the environment of unfettered competition within the industry. Maybe other sectors of the economy ought to take a leaf out of the telecom growth story. The Indian banking sector comes to mind. However, that is a topic for another day. (IANS)

(Amit Kapoor is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India. He can be contacted at Amit. Kapoor@competitiveness.in and tweets @kautiliya. Chirag Yadav, a senior researcher at the institute, has contributed to the article.)