After spending millions of rupees and countless sleepless nights, Aslam today is graduating with an MBBS degree. His future sure looks bright. After all, a career in medicine or engineering is a luxurious one. The hard work pays off and you cash every minute and every drop of sweat you spent working towards the ultimate goal.
Wait a minute. Weren’t these the expectations of the parents from 1990s? Ah I say, life was simpler, indeed!
Instead, fast-forward to the parents of today’s generation and you will gasp. All they can see are young doctors and graduates camping on roads in the burning sun, fighting for a meagre remuneration of their efforts (which is their basic right!) and losing their precious hours of practice. But the problem does not end here.
Being a doctor in Pakistan requires a big heart and the spirit to continue working with zero job satisfaction.
Health industry of Pakistan is as neglected as it possibly can be. It fails to support the patients AND doctors like Aslam who carry big dreams and energy to make a difference. But the health industry is not better than a rusted engine, working on the strength of its chains (doctors) to run the carriages. Per kab tak? When the chains will be over-worked, the engine will most certainly fail.
Actually, we are on the brink of failure right now.
After the government hospitals have decided to slave their doctors through 36 hours shift at a stretch every alternate day with meagre salaries, they might as well hope that they stick to their monarchy and not run away. In search of better opportunities and greater potential for learning and growing.
If you look at the other side of the coin, the patients are not exactly a priority amongst the worries of the government hospitals either. Due to the huge number of patients, the doctors are forced to treat 2-3 patients on the same beds. Crawling with mites and halls reeking of sweat and medicines. In conditions where breathing is difficult, doctors are saving lives. Don’t they deserve our unwavering respect?
But what will happen when they choose to prioritize their well-deserved right to a better career and for example, go abroad?
Who will replace them? Who will treat the patients? Who will now motivate the teenagers to idolize doctors and become one to serve their nation, selflessly?
These are the right questions that the healthcare system should be based on. Prioritizing the provision of its services to the patients and ensuring the chain of help and care doesn’t break. At the same time, respecting the sacrifices that a doctor makes each day to help you 22 hours out of 24 hours each day will make us better patients. It is equally important to make the doctors feel the gratitude we owe them with every passing minute of our life. They might be the ones giving up their luxuries for ensuring breathing in a critical patient in the ICU.