GUWAHATI, July 11 - The Assam State Branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has strongly objected to the description of private medical services in the NCERT Social Science textbook for Class VII students. This controversial description of the private medical services is given in Chapter 2 on the Social Political Life while describing the role of the Government in health, with the assertions made under the sub-headline �Private Health Facilities�.
The book says: �In order to earn more money, these private services encourage practices that are incorrect. At times cheaper methods, though available, are not used. For example, it is common to find doctors prescribing unnecessary medicines, injections or saline bottles when tablets or simple medicines can suffice.�
In the book on pages 22-23, a comic strip is also included which writes about the difference in treatment in public and private hospitals. It has been shown that the cost of treatment for the same illness is Rs 3500/- in the private sector and Rs 150/- in the government sector.
Dr Hiranmoy Adhikary, president and Dr Satyajit Borah, secretary of the IMA Assam State Branch in a press release said that the message from this chapter, which will reach the students at a tender age, is that the private sector fleeces the patients. However, it does not take into account the cost of infrastructure, medical equipment, staff salary, doctors� salary, cost of attached medical colleges etc., when calculating the cost of a private hospital�s prescription. In no way, the cost of government sector can be compared to that of the private sector without taking into consideration the above factors.�
The statement: � in order to earn more money, these private services encourage practices that are incorrect,� is also incorrect. The statement should have been: �in order to earn more money, some private services encourage some practices that are incorrect�, said the State IMA office bearers.
Today, violent behaviour against medical professionals is increasing day by day in the country and it has necessitated Medical Protection Acts in 17 states, they said adding that these types of statements in an NCERT textbook, will adversely affect the mindset of the students and their faith in the private services will simply vanish. At a stage when they are still not in a position to take their own decisions and judgment, these types of teachings are fraught with the danger of spoiling the patient-doctor relationship in the days to come, said the State IMA office bearers.
The matter should be taken seriously and the NCERT should be directed to rewrite this chapter before it is re-included in the textbook.
In the meantime, the Indian Medical Association has already written a letter in this regard to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with copies to President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda, Union Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani and the Director, NCERT, they said.