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Doctors welcome change of guard at Health Ministry

New Delhi: The replacement of Dr Harsh Vardhan with new health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda has largely been welcomed by the medical fraternity.

Jagat Prakash Nadda took charge as the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, in New Delhi on November 10. (Photo: PIB)
Jagat Prakash Nadda took charge as the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, in New Delhi on November 10. (Photo: PIB)

Even though J P Nadda has been in the eye of storm over his alleged writing to the then health minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, for removing Sanjiv Chaturvedi from the post of chief vigilance officer (CVO) of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, he is looked upon as a strong leader who would quicken the decision making process at the union health ministry. His non-medical background is not a matter of concern for the community as long as he listens to their needs and takes some decisions that prove to be a milestone in the future.

Dr Pawanindra Lal, chairman, division of minimal access surgery, Maulana Azad Medical College and Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi, told India Medical Times, “The appointment of the new health minister is a welcome step. We would cooperate with the work of the minister. We are looking forward to more active decisions for the betterment of health sector.”

“Who is heading the health ministry should not be a matter of concern as long as he is a good man willing to make progress by taking good decisions. Our job is to work sincerely in our field and the government’s job is to take decisions,” said Dr Lal.

Dr Prakash Hiremath, senior consultant, department of cardiothoracic surgery, Narayana Hrudayalaya Heart Centre, Davanagere (Karnataka), told India Medical Times, “I feel changing the union health minister is a right move by the government. Better late than never. Dr Harsh Vardhan, a doctor himself, was expected to take some fast and effective decisions but it didn’t happen. It would be too early to say if the new minister would be a better minister but we need a stronger person heading the ministry to hasten decision making process to usher the health sector in India.”

Though, J P Nadda had gained some experience during his stint as the health minister of Himachal Pradesh, it will take some time before he proves his appointment worth his salt and generates enough trust in the medical community for him.

Dr Sultan Sheriff, a former professor of medicine and now based in Chennai, told India Medical Times, “Change of guard at the ministry of health is just a political strategy. They have given Dr Harsh Vardhan a low profile ministry which is a step down from his area of expertise that the health ministry was.”

“It would have been good to have someone heading this key ministry who has an experience in medical field, medical education and family welfare. Even if there are people to guide a minister from non-medical background, there still remains a difference in the complete understanding of the state of affairs of the health sector in India,” said Dr Sheriff.

Dr Subhash Chandra Ahuja, former principal and head of orthopaedics department at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, told India Medical Times, “It’s too early to assess if the move to induct the new health minister is a step in the right direction or not. We should be in a position to calculate his work after he completes at least a year in office.”

by Vidhi Rathee

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