Address at the presentation of 43rd Dhanwantari Award to renowned Cardiac Surgeon Dr Sudhansu Bhattacharyya
Address by Shri Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the presentation of the 43rd Dhanwantari Award to renowned Cardiac Surgeon Dr Sudhansu Bhattacharyya at Crystal Room, Hotel Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Apollo Bunder, Mumbai at 11.00 AM on Sunday, 14 February 2016
Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde Ji, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, former Governor of Andhra Pradesh and former Union Home Minister, Dr D Y Patil, former Governor of Tripura and Bihar, Padma Vibhushan Dr B. K. Goyal, President, Dhanwantari Medical Foundation, Dr Smt Lekha Aadik Pathak, Dr Jiwraj Shah, the recipient of this year’s Dhanwantari award Dr Sudhansu Bhattacharya, all past recipients of the Dhanwantari Award present here, members of the medical fraternity, distinguished invitees, ladies and gentlemen…
Good afternoon to all of you.
I am pleased to associate myself with the presentation of the 43rd Dhanwantari Foundation Award to Dr Sudhansu Bhattacharya in presence of this august gathering.
It’s a Valentine’s Day today ! Many young men and women are exchanging promises and giving their hearts to each other all over the world ! It is therefore a happy coincidence that we are honouring someone who has dealt with hearts !
This is for the second consecutive year that I am attending this awards function.
But, I was amazed to learn that Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde Ji has been attending this function right from its inception, with an exception of one year. I think the Dhanwantari Foundation should think of giving a special award to Shinde ji !!
Dr Sudhansu Bhattacharyya is an internationally acclaimed Cardiac Surgeon who has contributed immensely to the development of this specialty in India. Dr Goyal informs me that Dr Bhattacharyya has pioneered the Lima – Rima Y technique and has performed 5000 cases by this technique. The technique has since been adopted all over the world. Apart from being one of the finest surgeons, Dr Bhattacharyya is a brilliant scholar, teacher, academician, researcher and above all a good human being.
By felicitating Dr Bhattacharyya with the award, the status of the award has been further enhanced.
I congratulate Dr Bhattacharyya Ji for being selected for the 43rd Dhanwantari Award. He has thus joined the league of distinguished medical professionals such as Dr Christian Bernard, Dr. C. Gopalan, Dr. B Ramamoorthy, Dr. P K Warrier, Nephrologist Dr M K Mani, Dr. P S Krishnamurty, Dr L H Hiranandani, Dr. P Venugopal and others who have received the award in the past.
The Dhanwantari Foundation deserves our wholehearted compliments for its efforts in bringing about coordination between modern medicine and traditional systems of medicine for the benefit of the people of our country. I convey my appreciation to Dr B K Goyal, Dr Lekha Pathak, Dr Jiwraj Shah and other trustees of the Foundation for their services to the medical profession and for recognizing outstanding leaders in the medical profession.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good health is considered as the most precious possession by mankind. Bhagwan Buddha had said, “Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth….” (unquote).
In recent years, India has emerged as a major economic power in the world. Our impressive rate of economic growth has earned us the envy and attention of the world. Most of the developed countries have highly developed healthcare systems. It is therefore imperative that India’s healthcare system matches the exalted status of India among the comity of nations.
India’s doctors and surgeons are the best in the world. It fills our heart with pride when we see our doctors and surgeons having become an integral part of the healthcare system in the United States of America, in the United Kingdom and in many other countries.
Visit any well-known hospital in Mumbai and you invariably see patients coming from Gulf and other countries for treatment.
There are two reasons why India is regarded as a favourite medical tourism destination: One is that our doctors are the best in the world, and the other is that the cost of medical treatment in India is significantly less when compared to the cost in other countries.
Having said that India’s healthcare system seems to be struck in a vicious cycle of lack of infrastructure, shortage or even absence of doctors and prohibitive costs. There are 7 physicians per 10,000 population in India, compared to 15 in China, 25 in United States, 28 in the UK and 43 in Russia.
We need to go a long way in evolving a holistic healthcare system, one which is affordable, accessible and excellent.
To borrow the language of Dr Bhattacharyya, I would say there are few ‘blockages’ in the system and we need to either remove them or create a mechanism that would ‘bypass’ the blockages !
I do feel that we need to work in three specific areas to develop our healthcare system :
1. Strengthening public health infrastructure
2. Opening one Government Medical College and one Nursing College in every district
3. Strengthening research in our public and private medical research institutions.
Lifestyle diseases, particularly diabetes and hypertension are causing a great havoc in our country posing serious challenge to public health. India’s research system should accept it as a challenge and innovate a wonder drug to cure diabetes. Our research institutions must collaborate with the best in the Western countries and find innovative solutions to address the challenges of health care in our country.
India is celebrating the ‘Make in India Week’ in Mumbai. I do feel that we must invite top pharma and medical equipment manufacturing companies to Make in India and collaborate with India. I am sure, this will help us reduce the cost of expensive medicines as also the cost of surgeries and treatment.
I would like to reiterate that ‘Make in India’ must be supported and backed by ‘Innovate in India’, ‘Discover in India’ and ‘Collaborate with India.’
If we can, for instance, manufacture an absorbing stent in India, the price of the stent could be brought down to one-tenth of its present price ! This will automatically reduce the cost of cardiac surgeries significantly.
I dream of a day when successful Indian doctors, surgeons and researchers working in the top research institutions abroad will ‘Return to India’ and ‘Serve in India’. This will help us remove the lacunae in our healthcare system and achieve the goal of Health for All.
With these words, I congratulate Dr Sudhansu Bhattacharyya ji once again and wish him the very best in life and professional career. I also convey my appreciation to the Dhanwantari Foundation, Dr B K Goyal and to all the trustees of the Foundation.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!