Why not Individual Social Responsiblity instead of CSR alone?

Health is the most important asset of any living being.  Medical Profession evolved as a distinct profession to safe guard this “treasure” and suggest remedies when things go wrong.Health care is undoubtedly noblest of all profession. However, in recent years, commercialization of Health and privatization of Health Care is the biggest challenge in the modern society.  Instead of aping the west, we should endeavor to tailor made our health care according to the needs and culture of our own society. In a country where two third population still lives in rural area, neglect of Govt Health infrastructure has led to unprecedented hardship. The prevailing conditions in primary health centers and Districts health centers are far from satisfactory. Pharma/Hospital Industry – Physician nexus has led to unwanted prescriptions and interventions. Doctors resort to unnecessary investigations because of the “incentives” or “commissions” from laboratories.

While we expect “CSR (corporate social responsibility)” from the corporate world, we have virtually no expectations from Government employees especially doctors. We all know that Government is the largest employer in India. Infact, every government employee should compulsorily pledge to support a charity every year as part of the job description. Just like other annual ritual of declaring asset and income, it should be mandatory that the employees must do “social service” with agencies of repute.

The activities that we do everyday can be classified into “ kriya” and “karma” . What we do for our “living” or support our family is called “Kriya”. Even animals do such “kriya” in form of hunting or gathering food. An activity that is self-less and helps other is called “karma”. What distinguishes “humans” from “animals” is the “ karma”. True accomplishments of an Individual are their “karma” and not “kriya”.  In Hinduism access to heaven/hell or type of “rebirth” is based on karma alone.  

All doctors (government or non government) should understand that “health care” is their kriya because they are being remunerated for that. It would be heartening if each doctor decides to undertake additional “karma” as per their core competence. The Gynecologists should support government on stopping female foeticide, pediatrician should participate in campaigns on child health, oncologists should engage themselves in tobacco control, cardiologists should promote healthy life style etc. 

If every doctor decides to spend even one hour for charity and service every week, there will be tremendous improvement in overall health of the nation. 

It is time to promote Individual Social Responsibility! Let the doctors make a beginning because they are into the noblest profession. 

Published by Prof Pankaj Chaturvedi

Deputy Director, Center for Cancer Epidemiology, Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai. Professor, Department of Head Neck Surgery, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai

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