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IMA demands deletion of “objectionable” content from NCERT textbook

New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has strongly objected to the “wrong description” of Private Health Facilities in the NCERT Social Science textbook for Class VII students.

On Page 26, Chapter 2 of the NCERT textbook ‘Social and Political Life – II’, the authors write: “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 textbook, on pages 22-23 a comic strip titled ‘The Cost of A Cure’ is also included which depicts the difference in treatment in public and private hospitals. In this it has been shown that the cost of treating the same illness (viral fever) is Rs 3,500 in a private hospital and Rs 150 in a government hospital.

Commenting on the text, Dr A Marthanda Pillai, national president, IMA and Dr K K Aggarwal, honorary secretary general, IMA, in a joint statement said: “The message which will go to the students is that ‘private sector flees money’. However, it does not take into account the cost of infrastructure, medical equipments, staff salary, doctors’ salary, cost of attached medical colleges etc when calculating the cost of a government prescription.”

According to Dr Pillai and Dr Aggarwal, the phrase “in order to earn more money, these private services encourage practices that are incorrect” should have been written as “in order to earn more money some private services encourage communication practices that are incorrect”.

They further said, “These types of phrases in NCERT textbook will brainwash the mind of the students and their faith in the private services will go away. At a stage when they are still not in a position to take their own decisions and judgement, these types of teachings will spoil the patient-doctor relationship.”

“The matter should be taken seriously and NCERT should be directed to delete this chapter and rewrite this chapter before it is included in the textbook,” the IMA office bearers said.

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