Meet the Expert: Dr Vinay Aggarwal

Dr Vinay Aggarwal is the past national president of IMA and Chairman and Managing Director of Pushpanjali Crosslay Hospital. In conversation with Curofy he talks at length about the state of Indian healthcare, possible remedial measures and his foray into Pushpanjali.

Q 1: You have been instrumental behind the success of Pushpanjali; how did it all start?

I started my career as a Medical Officer in ESI group of hospitals but the vision to achieve something bigger made me leave that job soon. I started my private practice as a general practitioner in Krishna Nagar in 1980 and very soon earned a reputation for being both a good family physician as well as a respected gentleman.

Being perceptive & intuitive, I readily realized the problems being faced by people in the area in terms of lack of proper diagnostic facilities. To take care of this issue, I established the Clinical Pathological Centre at Krishna Nagar in 1985.

My strong determination & passion to serve masses motivated me to set up Pushpanjali Medical Centre Heart and Trauma Hospital, a 60- bedded compact hospital in 1989 which is now a comprehensive secondary care facility with excellent round-the-clock back up of Emergency and Critical Care services.

Continuing my journey of endeavour, excellence and expansion I went ahead to start Pushpanjali Family Clinic, a multispecialty polyclinic with an in-house pathology lab and a dental clinic in December 2003 to address the needs of people of Delhi NCR region.

The next remarkable milestone in this journey was setting up of Pushpanjali Crosslay Hospital (PCH) in 2008. The hospital, a tertiary care, multispecialty facility built in a sprawling 3.46 acres is a towering edifice strategically located in NCR on NH 24.

PCH has been built on a unique model of “Cooperative Corporate” wherein more than 100 medicos have contributed to its equity and is run and managed by doctors on corporate lines. It is a very innovative and efficient system, as the professionals who are at the forefront of the organization’s business are also its stakeholders leading to a more transparent and efficient system of management.

The hospital has carved a niche for itself in a very short span of time owing to its commitment to high quality standards and is the first hospital to get an NABH accreditation with over 96% assessment scores within 2 years of coming into existence.

Q 2: You have been president of IMA; any interesting experiences during your stint.

As Secretary General of Indian Medical Association (IMA), an ambitious dream project was undertaken, to shoulder the responsibility of provision of positive health to every village in the country. The project will enable medical professionals to develop a vision and undertake innovations to improve rural health as envisaged in the National Health Policy. Under the project, the members of IMA will be adopting the most vulnerable villages according to prevalent major public health problems. Major emphasis will be on the control of epidemics and endemics, maternal and child health, geriatric care and adolescent health.

The Project aimed to achieve:

  • Orientation of professionals to village health
  • Generation of health awareness
  • Provision and strengthening of primitive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services
  • Community involvement and participation in health care
  • Public-private partnership in rural health care
  • Co-ordination to strengthen referral linkages in the health care delivery system
  • An improved image of IMA and the medical profession

400 villages have been adopted by IMA branches all over the country till today.

The issue of falling sex ratio and female foeticide was effectively highlighted by IMA by the following Campaigns during my tenure as President:

  • To draw the attention of public, Government and International Agencies, a massive rally was organized from National Stadium to India Gate. 10,000 children, youth, representatives of NGOs, Government of India and International Agencies participated in the rally.
  • In Nov, 1999 National Convention on “Save the Girl Child” was organized. 500 representatives from the country attended the meet.
  • Five regional meetings on “Say No to Female Foeticide” organized at Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Patna, Lucknow and Calcutta in the year 2000.
  • Meeting was organized with the faculty of National Law School, Bangalore to suggest the means to make the PNDT Act more stringent.
  • A historical Religious Leaders Meeting was convened in April 2001 in Chinmaya Mission auditorium, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi. 56 religious heads representing all religions participated in the meeting to show their concern.

An ambitious project of sensitizing 1.5 lakh members of IMA in HIV/AIDS and anti-retroviral therapy has been undertaken by Dr Aggarwal along with NACO and Clinton Foundation. The project accreditated by Medical Council of India was launched on 26th May, 2005 by President Bill Clinton himself in Delhi.

Be Human — Stop Child Abuse:

I became the second Indian after a period of about 22 years to take over as the President of this prestigious organization. The theme of CMAAO conference was “Be Human — Stop Child Abuse”. 200 delegates from more than 20 member countries participated in this conference.

An international workshop with UNICEF was organised on this topic with all stakeholders including participation from the Government.

As President of CMAAO, my focus was primarily on three core values — humanity, professional innovation and quality of medical services.

Q 3: If you are appointed by the government to manage current dengue problem, how would you tackle it?

Given the responsibility to manage the current dengue problem, I would tackle it in the following three steps:

a) Ensuring cleanliness of all residential places. The society and municipal corporations at large have to play an extremely important role in this. It is also equally pertinent to spread awareness among the public about the disease and educate them on ways to prevent and treat this.

b) Primary treatment of the disease is very important. It must be understood that Dengue is not a dreaded disease. However, simultaneously it is also important that any case of fever must be attended immediately, all necessary investigations must be promptly executed and the patient’s family must be reassured so that there is no panic about the whole thing.

c) There must be a very good co-ordination between the Public and Private Healthcare Institutions to manage the treatment of complications and prevent deaths. The Centre/State should take the responsibility to ensure that the services in both Public as well as Private set-ups are most optimally utilized in such situations.

Q 4: Can you tell us what ails the Indian healthcare sector as of now and what are the remedial measures?

According to me, the primary healthcare structure planned in 1950s is the most effectively planned but a highly neglected model. In my view, the Primary/Secondary Healthcare responsibility should lie with the Centre/State Govt while the Tertiary and Superspeciality treatment should be managed in collaboration with the Private Sector (Public — Private mix).

The Govt should encourage the development of Private Healthcare set-ups, help in the development of infrastructure in these places and subsidize the costs at these places to help meet the necessary requirements of providing high-end treatment.

Q 5: What are your views about the current medical education system in India? What are 3 reforms which you would like to bring about in the current system?

The Medical Council of India is empowered to regulate the medical education across the entire geographic distribution in the country. The three reforms that I would like to bring in the current system are as follows:

a) The course curriculum should be appropriately modified to take care of the present needs.

b) The standard of medical education needs to be significantly improved

c) There should be a uniform distribution of medical colleges and more emphasis should be laid on states like Orissa, Bihar/Jharkhand etc where the present infrastructure is extremely poor, there is a large population of downtrodden/tribal people and the need for good medical education to them in their area is extremely important.


Originally published at blog.curofy.com on October 10, 2015.