The “Art of Living” gets completed only with the “Art of Giving”. Philanthropy must follow profits and that has made the developed nations stand out when it comes to battling crises like pandemics and helping out mankind in distress. Even the Spanish flu-hit America came out to be a global superpower within a few decades; the US had lost at least six-times more lives than it has lost in the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Reason being, nation building rests on selfless service and profit takes a backseat. The case here is the battling of corona in India: in the current stage, what was being feared the most is turning out to be real—our inadequate and unregulated healthcare infrastructure is not able to combat the health crisis. Ironically, the private healthcare sector is not as proactive as it should be. Instead, many are getting the public slamming for “fleecing the patients”.
It is being alleged that a lot of private hospitals and healthcare services are making the most of what they call “season time”. No need to go to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, ask a patient in Delhi, who had recently gone to a hospital and you will get the answer: “Better to die at home than being in these private hospitals in time of flu or a pandemic like corona. They fleece like thugs and suck money like…” At a time when nation-building requires concerted efforts by both the government as well as private hospitals, unfortunately the latter is not leaving the “profit-making part” from its primary objective list, eventually making the poor and the vulnerable suffer immensely.
Worse, a lot of private hospitals are not taking Covid patients, saying they do not have facilities and dedicated wards. How much extra time and expertise do it take to make a Covid ward? The Supreme Court guidelines and regulations, which granted them acres of land at throw away prices, was for doing “charitable works”. The same is what the “big-picture objective” every hospital trust has put in the memorandum of association before taking the land to build healthcare facilities in the name of “benefiting humans and saving lives”.
In reality, the objective is completely missing and the private healthcare is barely shouldering with the government mission at a time when we approximately face a million each shortage of beds and doctors in the country. Weren’t we supposed to keep 10% beds and 25% free OPD in all private hospitals, as directed by government and court regulations?
Most private hospitals are today standing and thriving on institutional government land, given at a hugely concessional rate. The private hospital bodies seem to have breached the trust of deeds they have signed with the governments to ensure affordable and accessible healthcare to all in the time of crisis and distress. The “not-for-profit” principle should at least be practised in the time of crisis and nation building. It’s time we learnt the “Art of Giving” the correct way.
Can the government ensure that private hospitals’ deeds for land grants are executed properly to ensure that maximum lives are saved? It’s a reality check time for our private hospitals which seem to have forgotten their dharma.