SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA SHRIMATI PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE CONVOCATION CEREMONY OF THE DR. D.Y. PATIL VIDYAPEETH
Pune, 9th June, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very happy to be at this Convocation Ceremony of Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth which was accorded the status of a University in 2003. This University was set up with the aim to provide high quality education in the different fields of Medical Sciences. In a period of nine years, it has established itself well, and is holding its Third Convocation. I congratulate all students who are getting their degrees today. I am particularly pleased to note that both the PhDs. given today were to women and I applaud their achievements. I congratulate Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, for the Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa conferred on him. He has many distinguished achievements to his credit and is well known in the country as well as internationally for contribution to financial and economic thinking. I also heartily congratulate Shri Mohan Dhariaji for receiving the very well deserved Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa. Dhariaji has served as a Union Cabinet Minister and Deputy Chairman in Planning Commission and besides he has done tremendous work in rural development. I visited Gawdewadi village in Pune District which he helped develop as a self reliant village. I was deeply impressed with the activities there.
I begin with a shloka from the Sanskrit treatise, the "Ashtanga Sangraha" of Vag Bhat which states-
This means- 'Medical science is like a light which gives much wisdom and deep insight.' The reason why I have quoted from our ancient texts is to emphasize the age old primacy given to the study of health and medicine in our country. It reminds us, on the one hand, of the traditional Indian systems of medicine, which are a part of our heritage and should be protected and also on the other hand, it points out to the necessity of constant study of health and related issues.
Research has been fundamental in finding cures for many diseases, as also for improving understanding of the functioning of the human body. There have been many revolutionary discoveries, but yet the field is wide open for further work. Medical institutions must keep in touch continuously with advances in medical sciences and incorporate reliable, newer and most sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, and update their curriculum regularly. We have entered the age of laser surgery and already there is much talk of robotic surgery. In biotechnology, stem cell research and artificial intelligence have huge scope for investigations and findings, in addition to many other fields, which we may not even know today. It is for scientists to discover them. We must encourage research in institutions of higher learning. It is also important that healthcare professionals continue to maintain and develop their knowledge and skills. This is all the more important in our country, where there are large numbers of people who require medical services.
As you begin your careers, you would no doubt be aware about the health sector scenario in India in terms of its challenges and its promise. Today, the penetration of health services is unequal and is particularly low in rural areas where medical facilities are limited and often located some distance away. Also, accessibility for all sections of society to health services is uneven. In the context of the national objective of inclusive growth, it must also include inclusive health, which means providing accessible, affordable and quality healthcare to all. Innovative management is required for heath delivery systems. I suggest that there should be specialized courses in management of health facilities in management courses and in medical studies.
I believe that our health system should become affordable and must assume the responsibility of not only treating people, but should also focus on prevention and early diagnosis of disease. Many of the prominent non-communicable diseases are often linked with unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. It requires change in lifestyle, so that these can be largely prevented and controlled. This requires creating awareness. In this too, medical educational institutes can be helpful by holding awareness camps. I would encourage this University to take such initiatives. At the same time, the modern system of medicine should also have an open mind to alternative therapies and traditional medicine systems and should create inquiry about these as well.
I am informed that you have an Institute of Distance Learning. Efforts should also be made not only to use this technology to bring knowledge to your students from some of the best medical colleges in India and abroad, but also to treat patients in the surrounding villages through tele-medicine. It also helps in knowledge sharing between different hospitals and doctors. I am happy to learn that the Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, has been holding discussions on increasing academic collaboration with other institutions including those of other countries. I understand that, in this context, it organized the INDO-US Education Conclave in December, 2011.
I will emphasize some aspects which you must bear in mind if you are to do well in studies and life. Use your time in college and university to acquire what in the Upanishads is called "tejas" which means a brilliant mind, and "viveka" meaning good sense to understand life, with its duties and responsibilities. You will require not only knowledge and discipline, but also the desire from within to perform the task at hand with excellence. Work with single-minded devotion to achieve your goals. Focusing on what you are doing, will give you the capacity to understand issues in depth and to deal with situations in a balanced manner. This is an essential quality for medical professionals who handle issues of people's well-being and good health.
Doctors play an important role in society and for the well being of the nation. Undoubtedly, all of you have certain career goals which are important. Medical education is comparatively costly but then do not be in a hurry to recover all the costs in the shortest possible time. Try to be true to your profession, which in addition to earnings, is also a service to humanity. At the same time, you also have a duty towards nation building. I urge the young doctors present here to devote some years of their professional lives to working in rural areas. By serving in rural areas not only would you be doing good work for the nation, but the stint will be a valuable addition to your professional experience.
For those of you who are graduating from the faculty of Nursing, I must mention that nursing personnel are an integral part of any healthcare system. No medical team is complete without them. In fact, a good medical facility is highly dependent on the quality of its nursing. Nurses also have to ensure that doctors' instructions are carried out thoroughly in respect of the patient. Thus, nurses, in a very special way, serve as a link between doctors and patients.
As you leave this campus today, and as some of you begin preparations for your further studies in medicines, while others prepare themselves to practice medicine, all of you should be conscious of the fact that as doctors, wherever you go, faith and trust shall be reposed on you by your patients as well as their relatives. They will look upon you with hope and expectations. Therefore, you must always work to maintain this trust, in your practice and apply your knowledge in a very responsible way. Medicine is an intensely humane and personal endeavour and the doctor-patient relationship itself becomes part of the therapeutic process. While treating patients always be conscious that you are not treating the body alone, but also the concerns and doubts in their minds about their health as well. Try to reduce their anxiety and give them confidence and hope. Patients should feel that the doctor cares for them because a doctor is like God to patients. I hope that the doctors who are passing out today will also bring laurels to the country with their accomplishments and also serve humanity.
I conclude by wishing success for the future of the Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, its management, faculty and to all its students and the young doctors, who have received their degrees today.