`Code for doctors needs a re-look'

MANIPAL NOV. 9. Ophthalmologists should network with their fellow practitioners and aim at providing better service, especially in the periphery of major urban centres, the President of the Karnataka Ophthalmological Society (KOS), K.R.Murthy, said here on Saturday. This would provide access to latest technology and enable them to provide better eye care.

Addressing the Southern Regional Ophthalmic Conference and the 21st Karnataka State Ophthalmic Conference, Dr. Murthy said many ophthalmologists struggled to find initial investment to launch their careers. Point out that not all could afford expensive gadgets, he urged them to pool their resources and offer the best at competitive rates.

Dr. Murthy stressed the need for a re-look at the medical code of ethics, given the changing scenario and the advent of consumer education. He said physicians, irrespective of their speciality, had to respond to changing times.

He advised ophthalmologists to be thorough about their profession, especially given that patients were an enlightened lot. Patients were inquisitive about various procedures adopted by the doctors and some of them grasped even subtleties in them.

He urged ophthalmologists in the State to emulate the success achieved by premier eye institutions in Tamil Nadu such as Arvind Eye Hospital and Shankara Eye Society in rural and specialised eye care.

These institutions had rendered yeoman service in taking up latest challenges in the field and made them available to the common man.

Dr. Murthy lauded the initiative taken by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) in organising the conference. He said that such events formed part of continued medical education (CME) programme and were an important source for doctors to upgrade their knowledge.

Inaugurating the event, the President of MAHE, Ramdas Pai, said Manipal had tried to position itself at the head of technological revolution sweeping the medical and educational fields.

The Kasturba Medical College, a constituent of MAHE, had evolved into modern era of phacoemulsification and lasers from the days of outreach surgical camps in far-flung areas.

Presiding over the function, the Dean of KMC, Manipal, R.S.P.Rao, said that the hospital would soon start a community ophthalmology unit at Dr. T.M.A.Pai Rotary Hospital at Karkala with the aid of $2.5 lakh grant sanctioned by the Rotary International.

Dr. Rao released a CD Fundus Atlas on the occasion.

The Secretary of KOS, G.V.Divakar, presented a report on its activities. The Chairman of the Organising Committee, B.Manohar Rao, welcomed the gathering. The organising secretary, M.M.Kamath, proposed a vote of thanks. The conference paid a visual tribute to the founder of modern day Manipal, late T.M.A.Pai, as part of the event.

14 million blind

Dr. Murthy told presspersons that the country had a dubious distinction of having the most number of blind people.

He said India had nearly 14 million blind people and their number was increasing.

He said India had the best of facilities to treat this phenomenon, on a par with the most developed countries. It was a matter of ensuring equitable distribution of the same, he said.

He said the KOS had worked in this direction by conducting eye camps in various locations across the State and carrying out surgeries as well. Many patients had been provided with intra ocular lens free of cost at such camps.

This practice ensured that ophthalmologists participating in these camps maintained highest professional standards, thus enabling the people to get the best of expertise. The KOS was also paying special attention to eradicating cataract related blindness at the camps, which contributed to the increasing number of blind people in India.

Dr. Murthy said the KOS also conducted training for post-graduates who specialised in ophthalmology. Such students could undergo training in any premier eye institution for a short duration.

The KOS had instituted gold medals to spur competition among the students, he added.

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