In a bid to raise awareness of violence against doctors, a short film will be made public outlining the contours of the relationship between the public and the medical community.
We Are Not Gods was screened over the weekend. It addresses issues inherent to the doctor-patient relationship, as well as the impacts of violence against doctors on their morale and how it sows distrust between the practitioner and their patient. In addition, the short film is reported to emphasise the importance of appropriate communication in the relationship. It is based on a true story.
The short film is a co-production of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and a hospital based in the Gujarat city. The film has been submitted to the Indian Medical Association for review before it is made public, according to Dr Rajesh Chandwani, who chairs the Centre for Management of Health Services at IIM-A.
“Nobody has authentic statistics as the definition of violence is also broad,” said Dr R. V. Asokan, secretary-general of the Indian Medical Association (IMA). “But we are now pushing for the stringent norms to stop it.” According to an internal survey conducted by the IMA, one-third of Indian medicos have been the target of violence at some stage in their career.
The figure could be higher. Past estimates suggested that as many as 75 percent of medical practitioners in India have been the victim of some form of harassment, abuse, or violence in the workplace.
Episodes of violence against doctors have regularly sparked protests and strike actions by medicos across India. Numerous spates of agitation by angry doctors were witnessed last year, in states ranging from Assam to West Bengal as well as at the national level.
The IMA has called for the Centre to take action against violence against doctors by codifying the offence into law. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare last year pushed for legislation addressing the issue to be enacted in India. However, draft legislation penalising violence against doctors and other healthcare workers with up to ten years of incarceration and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh stalled after it was rejected by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.