New Delhi: The Association of Healthcare Providers – India (AHPI), and the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the country’s two largest associations of healthcare providers (institutional and individual) jointly representing over 10,000 healthcare institutions and 3,75,000 individual healthcare professionals, have come together to tackle the healthcare sector’s most pressing problem — violence against healthcare professionals. After the distressing tragedy of Dr Archana Sharma’s death by suicide after constant harassment eight months ago, AHPI and IMA have worked together on a publication to bring a spotlight on this difficult issue. Titled “Perils in Practice: Prevention of Violence Against Healthcare Professionals”, the book aims to empower healthcare workers in facing the challenges of violence at healthcare institutions, providing guidance on their protection (including more effective communication), and examining the role of the health sector, the media, policymakers, law enforcement, regulators, and the community.
Speaking at the release of the book on Sunday, 16 October at the United Services Institution of India in New Delhi, both the AHPI and IMA Presidents, Dr Alexander Thomas and Dr. Sahajanand Prasad Singh expressed their dismay at the state of healthcare workers in India today and emphasised the urgent need for change. With the publication of this book cementing the relationship between the organisations, they hoped this would be the beginning of a national movement towards sensitisation and empowerment.
The book was released by Smt. Preeti Sudan, former Union Health Secretary, who commended the editors for providing a comprehensive and holistic view of the subject in the publication, and recommended that the first step in rectifying the situation be the appointment of an Ombudsman to mediate between doctor and patient in cases of dispute. Several eminent contributing chapter authors also spoke at the release, including Dr. R. V. Asokan (President-Elect of the IMA), Dr. K. K. Talwar (former Chair, Medical Council of India), Shri D. V. Guruprasad (Former DGP, Karnataka), Shri Seethalakshmi (former Editor, City, Times of India), and Dr Giridhar Gyani (DG, AHPI) among others.