In alliance with The Peace Warrior Foundation (TPW), DO NO HARM INDIA (DNHI) will be directed by two-time Emmy winner Robyn Symon who recently produced the groundbreaking film DO NO HARM in the United States.
India prides itself as being home to world class hospitals with major achievements and advancements in medical research led by some of the world’s most brilliant and respected medical minds. Since the 1960s, Indian-born physicians have become world-renowned and practice at some of the most prestigious medical institutions across the globe. Yet doctors are increasingly suffering from high rates of burnout, depression, and suicide in an already fragile government-run healthcare system and face violent attacks by patients' families - exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic.
We may think of doctors as endurance athletes who are used to 30-hour shifts, to death and pain, but statistics show that physicians are twice more likely to die by suicide than the general public. And this has been acutely exasperated in the current medical COVID/crisis. 50% of physicians report being burned out or depressed. In what is quickly becoming an epidemic, more than 75% of doctors in India face verbal or physical attacks by patients’ families. Long held cultural traditions, family pressure and the idea that physicians are superhuman and as healers not supposed to ask for help, prevent them from seeking mental health care. Forced to hide depression and burnout often leads to high rates of drug addiction and suicide. It has been estimated that healthcare professionals are four times likely to be injured and require time away from work due to workplace violence than all other workforce combined.
Today, India is at a crossroad. Public health institutions are overburdened, private health care is not affordable for everyone, doctors are overwhelmed, and patients are increasingly dissatisfied. While the government provides public healthcare, severe shortages of staff and supplies force many households to seek care from private providers and pay out-of-pocket. The public expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP for 2017-18 was a mere 1.28 according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Put in a global context, India ranks 170 out of 188 countries in government health expenditure.
Shortage of medical professionals has been felt drastically during the COVID pandemic, India already has .7 doctors per 1000, which is below the WHO recommended 1 doctor per 1000. Doctors are asked to work long hours, often without adequate rest or sleep leading to many health complications. According to The Indian Medical Association (IMA) an Indian doctor's average lifespan is 55-59 years - almost 10 years lesser than the general population.
Stretched to the limit, the system not only puts doctor’s lives at risk but reduces the quality-of-care patients receive. And when a poor patient outcome occurs, the IMA reveals that over 75% of doctors in India have faced some form of violence at the hands of the patient or their families. Some have actually been killed.
What’s at stake is the future of healthcare in India. As the country struggles to recover from the COVID19 pandemic, the need to come together to fix India’s healthcare system is more urgent than ever.
Doctors on the frontlines of the COVID19 pandemic, make tremendous sacrifices every day to save the lives of their patients and hundreds of physicians in India have died after being exposed to the deadly virus. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called doctors "front-line soldiers”, yet many physicians and their families were assaulted and ostracized by their neighbors because of their exposure to patients infected with Covid-19.
Doctors are humans too, they deserve adequate rest and healthy working hours, they need support for their mental health and wellbeing it is time we stand up with our physicians and appreciate them, empathize with them - for the benefit of not only our doctors, but for the benefit of each one of us.
A documentary film is a powerful tool to open a dialogue among patients, physicians, and policy makers in search of solutions to improve physician wellness and patient care. DO NO HARM INDIA will be produced by the same production team behind the groundbreaking film DO NO HARM in the United States led by Emmy award-winning filmmaker and PBS producer Robyn Symon. The film will be distributed nationally and internationally through broadcast networks, online platforms and used as a tool at medical schools, hospitals and conferences for years to come.
To make this film a reality we need your support! Join us in making the mission of transforming India’s healthcare system a reality.
For more information on partnership and collaboration opportunities please contact Sonali S. Namiranian at [email protected]
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