Consulting Radiologist Dr Manoj V Solanki, coordinator at Arogya Sahayya Samiti a medical wing of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, discussed various aspects of their services towards mankind with our Editor-in-Chief Dr Vaidehi Taman, about how this platform helps the internal cleansing of the medical field.
This unique podium consists of doctors, vaidya, paramedical staff, social workers, RTI activists and even lawyers to fight the misconducts in the field of medical practices. Following are the excerpts of the interview.
What is Arogya Sahayya Samiti and affiliated to whom?
Since we believe that the establishment of Hindu Rashtra is not political but spiritual, which cannot have any place for corruption, mismanagement, negligence or bias in the administration, it must be implemented instead of talking about the same in theory. Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, is working for the establishment of the ideal Hindu Rashtra. Arogya Sahayya Samiti a medical wing of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti is a platform for the internal cleansing of the medical field. This is essentially a platform and now Arogya Sahayya Samiti is being joined by Doctors, Vaidyas & Paramedical staff, social workers, RTI activists and even lawyers to fight the malpractices and the medical mafias in the field.
The main focus is two-fold – firstly to make the medical knowledge, facilities reach to the common man as also to fight the evils. As of now, we have been working to provide immediate medical aid to the needy and victim of life-threatening calamities such as floods, earthquakes etc.
How this concept of Arogya Sahayya was adopted and came into existence?
The formal name was declared in June 2018, though the like-minded people coming together in the Hindu Convention in Goa had started working on the projects/issues somewhere since 2016. After researching, meeting like-minded people in these two years, it was felt that a time has come that this movement should have an organizational name, a formal set-up – thought the main concept is of a movement and voluntary association of persons who want to contribute.
We are well known for the malpractices going on in the medical field. Looking at the commercialisation of this service sector, rising cases of looting patients, referrals for unnecessary investigations, forcing patients to opt for expensive medicines and equipment instead of cheaper ones etc, the concept of Arogya Sahayya Samiti took shape and came into existence in June 2018. One thing I would like to mention here, that we do not say all the doctors & health employees are bad or commercial in nature. We salute all the doctors, medical & paramedical staff who worked with dedication during this pandemic.
What is ‘Surajya Abhiyan’?
Apart from medical, in almost all the fields, unethical, corrupt practices are going on. Arogya Sahayya Samiti raises their voice against such practices in the medical field, like-wise ‘Surajya Abhiyan’ raise against others fields.
There are many NGOs and Organizations working in the field of medical victims and justice, how are you different from them?
Well, let’s give it some time to decide and firstly, we do not want to compete with any NGO, rather the approach is to connect, to take help and extend help. Since the mass exploitation is too wide – the loot being reported during the Covid Pandemic may be the tip of the iceberg. With an average 2.25% expenditure by the Government on the health sector, literacy rate to 69%, the physician density ratio consistently below the WHO norms India stood 10th in the 11 countries in the Asia Pacific in a January 2021 survey, the health sector has many challenges to face. Indeed, the NGOs working in the field are many, the FCRA has weak audit control with no medical audits. Thus, there is a lot to do.
We will be focusing not only on giving justice to individual victims but on mass awareness both for availing the facilities and fight for medical justice. Crimes in the medical field is a new area where extensive work requires to be done.
Do you believe some organizations in Mumbai and around are playing with the lives of COVID-19 patients?
Fingers can be pointed out towards some private organizations; the onslaught of the pandemic is too big that the government system is crunching under the pressure which is being exploited by the non-government players. There is a lot of work to be done.
How do you look at the overall pandemic situation in Maharashtra? Are you happy with the handling of the cases by the state government?
See, the Covid-19 pandemic is not restricted to a particular state. It is a national disaster. We tackled the crisis with vision, imposed restrictions, followed responsibilities in the first phase of Corona. Then where we failed in the second phase? There was a need to do a SWOT analysis of the crisis. There was a need to use our strengths efficiently, to overcome our weaknesses, to understand our opportunities and to review our threats. Lack of pro-activeness, forecasting, proper process etc. made the situation worst.
What is the biggest challenge right now for the medical fraternity?
When World Health Organization accepts and recommends that countries would blend traditional and conventional ways of providing care in ways that make the most of the best features of each system and allow each to compensate for weaknesses in the other, we are not focusing on this despite having Ayurveda with us and we are lagging far behind in this. Apart from this challenge, the other issue is to blend the spiritual aspect of disease which is being completely neglected today with only a focus on allopathy. For example, modern medicine teaches us that the reason for high blood pressure can be work pressures, tensions and prescribes some pills/chemicals be taken orally. But, by spiritual treatment, one can understand the level of Ego of a person, the higher the ego, the more the pressures/ irritations etc. Thus, reduction of ego can be another treatment. These are areas of experiments and research.
Of course, in the short span, we are facing the Covid Pandemic and there are issues like Delhi Government paid compensation to the family of a Muslim Medical practitioner who died in Covid duty whereas in Delhi alone many doctors die same way but got nothing. Such kind of selective treatment will obviously demoralize the medical sector.
There is a substantial shift in the approach – it was regarded as a ‘service’ to society and now becoming a lucrative business The challenge is to change the mindsets and make experiments with an open approach.
Can you throw some light on corruption in this medical field?
‘Cut Practice’ has become a routine corrupt practice in the medical field. Doctors who send their patients to other doctors so as to earn a ‘cut’. Many private hospitals, corporate hospitals, diagnostics, path labs are offering a percentage to referring doctor out of the charges earned by that particular referred patient.
Apart from this, pharmaceutical companies offering precious gifts like cars, foreign tour packages to the doctors for prescribing their medicines and doctors are prescribing for their personal benefits.
During the Corona pandemic, Doctors and hospital staff sold Remdisivir injections at the rate of 25000 to 100000 also. So many cases of not giving the corpse of a Covid patient without paying the hospital bill or not admitting patients without paying the deposit.
We have seen many Doctors and hospitals selling the human organs of a deceased patient.
These days there is an ongoing debate between allopathy practitioners and Baba Ramdev, what is your observation of it?
As mentioned above, Allopathy practitioners should not regard Ayurveda as a competitor, the focus should be to give the best to society instead of blocking some medicines. If we see the trend, firstly hydroxychloroquine, then plasma therapy, Remdesivir, Fabiflue now Influenza, what does it indicate? We do not have a confirmed solution on it. We are continuously going on with trials and research. In such a situation, instead of criticizing each other, all pathy’s should have to fight it unanimously. They could have included Ayurvedic medicines in trials. Their focus should be on the patient and not the credibility.
Do you believe there are medical mafias, and syndicates that are taking undue advantage of people?
Yes – as a general statement. But as a movement, we believe that in the coming days we will come up with evidence to stop such syndicates and we request the viewers to share the data.
Who is most vulnerable in such a situation?
Well, a common man. They need medical support but the cost of treatment is highly non-affordable. The cost of hospitalisation, medication, surgical items is beyond imagination. Most of the people have lost their jobs, no earnings. Many people die because of non-affordability to drugs.
How do you do your research or findings, before exposing such malpractices?
We are becoming a team of people from the medical field, lawyers etc. So the medical expertise has the added advantage of legal knowledge and the steps to be taken.
What are the biggest challenges during investigations or approaching such institutions?
Since it is the fence, itself eating the crops, it becomes difficult to collect evidence. People mostly look for their own benefits and thus allow the system to rot.
What is your advice to people to stay away from such bullying?
People should abandon the ‘why should I fight?’ for the simple reason that a person gets a benefit by neglecting some rot, but the system rotten and again ricochets back to the same person some other day. We appeal to people to be aware to prevent these malpractices and to understand how to fight against them. For assistance, you can contact Arogya Sahayya Samiti on 9595984844. So, let’s perform our duties strictly and let’s demand the rights consciously.