New Delhi: The new Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya wishes to reform healthcare system prevailing in India root branch and body. Though it is a very tall order and at most a wishful thinking, we cannot fault the minister for his well-meaning intention and laugh him off. So, what is the way forward?
Mr Mandaviya has made it amply clear in one of his surprise visits to get an idea of the rot in healthcare he has to grapple with that he will not wield Power Wala Danda (PWD) and tread lightly. Instead of picking up some individuals found negligent of duties, he would try to reform the system. He will spare the rod and still right the spoilt ship. The idea is a tough sale because popular thinking is that unless ruthless measures are taken, the public healthcare system will remainincorrigible as ever. This has been exemplified by Akshya Kumar starrer blockbuster film ‘Gabbar is Back’ in which the protagonist takes the mantle of ruthless Gabbar and brandishes Power Wala Danda (PWD) to right the wrong in healthcare. Akshya, the hero also talks of changing the system. Mr Mandaviya completely differs.
Though Danda triggered the articulation of Mr Mandaviya’s method, Gabbar he would not be and not wield the baton. Officers who have worked around Mr Mandavia vouch that he has soft touch as an administrator. He made his method known in one of his outings in concealed identity. He made the visit to Safdarjung Hospital recently in the garb of a regular patient and had to taste the bitter medicine from the system. He had to confront a danda wielding guard who hit Mr Mandaviya who was seated on a bench. Mr Mandaviya spoke about this unbecoming episode in a function in the same hospital. He said he came across chaos and mismanagement in the hospital. He also witnessed that a 75-year-old lady desperately needed a stretcher for his son but the guard in question remained unmoved and looked on and did not help the hapless old lady. The minister moved on without taking the guard to task.
The minister said he spared the guard because he believed system needs to be reformed rather than punishing an individual who is product of the system. Mr Mandaviya said PM Narendra Modi also endorsed his thinking. The minister further told the audience that he shared this experience with PM Modi as well. PM wanted to know whether he got the said guard suspended on which he answered in negative and said he intended to better the system instead. In the function, Minister told the authorities that he wanted Safdarjung hospital to be model in the country.
In the face of his stark experience in Safdarjung Hospital, his experience in his first surprise visit to a CGHS dispensary proved a mere placebo. Just before Safdarjung outing, he visited the dispensary. Mr Mandaviya chanced upon a dutiful doctor and showcased a role model. He showered the praise on the said doctor and was very happy about his dutifulness.
Reforming the system is the recent talking point in pollical discourse. Given the impossibility of correcting the rot by some magic of the wand, BJP tried to create the narrative of system. The party deflected the failure in tackling of Corona epidemic on the rotten system that was handed by previous powers that be to the present dispensation.