@ Afak Khan ‘Sameer’ | Correspondent

New Delhi : More than 75 health journalists gathered under one roof to upgrade their knowledge about pressing health issues and network with their peers. At a 3 days health media convention organised by HEAL Foundation with Indian Institute of Mass Communication as Academic Partner around 40 leaders of the health care industry interacted with a niche audience of health media. The convention is a national platform for health writers and editors to gain firsthand knowledge about various health issues directly from the pioneers of the healthcare industry.

Addressing the gathered health media, Chief Guest Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Ministry of Health & Family Welfare said, “It’s an irony that even after seven decades of freedom, 62.58% citizens don’t have health insurance. As a result, every year around 4% citizens get stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty due to unbearable health expenses. Government is upgrading 58 medical colleges and establishing super specialty blocks in 73 medical colleges to fight the menace.” I congratulate HEAL Foundation for taking the initiative of capacity building of health writers – especially vernacular media – from all parts of the country and I am assured that intense discussion on Ayushman Bharat and healthy India will definitely yield fruitful results and benefit government too”, he added.

The convention had key panel discussions on topics like ‘Menace of Fake Health News’ and ‘Upholding Trust in Healthcare’, where speakers like Dr Ashok Seth Padam Bhushan Awardee, Chairman and Cardiologist Fortis Hospital, Dr Shakti Kumar Gupta Medical Superintendent AIIMS and K G Suresh, Director General of Indian Institute of Mass Communication, presented their viewpoints. Suresh also promised a long-term association with HEAL Foundation for the capacity building of the health writers and editors. Ashi Kathuria, Senior Nutrition Specialist at World Bank shared insights on FSSAI’s Eat Right India Movement which is spreading the message of Food Fortification, Food Safety, Reduced intake of foods high in fats, sugar, and salt, and 1st 1000 days of life India wide.

Sharing his opinion on Upholding Trust in Healthcare, Dr. Seth said, “Doctors always work under a lot of pressure during odd hours, which often results in miscommunication or no communication. For trust building among patients and doctors, it is very important for doctors to have empathy toward patients. A clear and polite communication goes a long way in trust building. Few words from doctors decide the words of patient’s relatives if things go haywire. Patient’s feedback for the same result can be ‘Doctor tried his best’ or ‘doctor was negligent’ depending on doctor’s empathy and communication.”

Swadeep Srivastva, Founder HEAL Foundation, and Founding Managing Partner India Virtual Hospital said, “The convention has established itself as a bridge between health journalists and doctors, hospitals, pharma industry, and other industry players. Journalists get the opportunity for capacity building from key industry leaders that give them access to the first-hand information about industry developments. The objective of the 6th convention was to touch-base our health writers and editors with the recent advances in the healthcare industry and increasing roles and responsibilities of health media in the holistic improvement of healthcare.”

Cipla and Maharishi Ayurveda participated in the convention as Berok Zindagi and Ayurveda partners respectively. Cipla organized free pulmonary function tests for the attendees of the convention whereas Maharishi Ayurveda arranged a free Ayurveda check-up.

The event was concluded with the distribution of HEAL Health Honours – recognizing excellence in healthcare.


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