In service of mankind

Dr. Parveen Kumar
Dr. Veena Raina
‘The presence of a doctor is the beginning of the cure’. Considered next to God, this fraternity is always at the forefront, 24*7, serving mankind tirelessly and relentlessly without caring for their lives and families. As a gesture of their dedication, commitment and selfless service towards mankind, a special day is observed every year across the globe to acknowledge and appreciate their efforts. Today, hundreds of thousands of doctors lead the fight against various diseases and illness all over the world. They continue to give specialized and advanced treatments and cures for debilitating conditions. In India this day is celebrated on July 1 every year as ‘National Doctors Day.’
History of Doctors’ Day: The first Doctors day was celebrated on March 30, 1933 in Winder, Georgia (US). It all started when Eudora Brown Almond wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond wanted to have a day to honor physicians. On this first day in 1933, greeting cards were mailed and flowers placed on the graves of deceased doctors. The ‘red carnation’ is commonly used as the symbolic flower for National Doctors Day. Long before the celebration of March 30 as Doctors’ day in 1933; in the year 1842, the first ether anesthetic for surgery was administered by Dr. Crawford W. Long on same date marking the date for Doctors Day. On that day, Dr. Long operated to remove a tumor from a man’s neck, he administered ether anesthesia. Following surgery, the man would swear that he felt nothing during the surgery and was not aware of anything until he awoke. Later on, on February 21, 1991, the then president of United States George H.W. Bush proclaimed National Doctors Day to honor the Nation’s physicians for their dedication and leadership.
Celebration across the world: In Australia, there are various dates on which National Doctor’s Day can be celebrated, but the most participated is the 30th of March. In Kuwait, National Doctor’s Day is celebrated on the 3rd of March. The idea of this celebration came from the Kuwaiti business woman; Zahra Sulaiman Al-Moussawi and the date was chosen due to it being the birthday of her daughter Dr. Sundus Al-Mazidi. In Brazil, National Doctors’ Day is celebrated as a holiday on October 18, the day on which the Catholic Church celebrates the birthday of Saint Luke. According to the Church Tradition the apostle and Evangelist Saint Luke was a doctor. National Physicians’ Day is celebrated in Canada on May 1. The date was chosen by the Canadian Medical Association in recognition of Dr. Emily Stowe, the first female physician to practice in Canada. In Cuba, National Doctors’ Day is celebrated as a holiday on December 3 to commemorate the birthday of Carlos Juan Finlay. Carlos J. Finlay was a Cuban physician and scientist recognized as a pioneer in yellow fever research. He was the first to theorize in 1881, that a mosquito was a carrier, now known as a disease vector of the organism causing yellow fever, a mosquito that bites a victim of the disease could subsequently bite and thereby infect a healthy person. A year later he identified a mosquito of the genus ‘Aedes’ as the organism transmitting yellow fever. His theory was followed by the recommendation to control the mosquito population as a way to control the spread of the sickness.
National Doctors’ Day: In India this day was established by the Government of India in 1991 to be recognized and celebrated every year on 1st of July. It is celebrated to honour the legendary Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, who was also the second Chief Minister of West Bengal a legendary physician. He was born on July 1, 1882 and died on the same date in 1962, aged 80 years. He is one of the few people in history to have obtained Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons (FRCS) and Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) degrees simultaneously. Dr Roy was also honoured with the country’s highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, on February 4, 1961. He was a highly respected physician and a renowned freedom fighter. He remained the Chief Minister of Bengal for around 14 years from 1948 until his death in 1962. He is also considered as the great architect of West Bengal. The five cities of West Bengal namely: Durgapur, Bidhannagar, Ashoknagar, Kalyani and Hawra were also founded by him. He was also a member of Brahmo Samaj. In his memory, the Union Government had also instituted an award. In 1928, he played an instrumental role in the establishment of Indian Medical Association (IMA) and also in the establishment of the Medical Council of India (MCI).
In these testing times, when the entire humanity is rattled by the deadly corona virus and when everybody is self-isolating, it is the doctors who are constantly fighting for the lives of people who have been infected with the deadly virus. With the number of infected people on the rise every day and hospitals being flooded with hundreds of people, it has never been more important to appreciate the efforts that doctors make to ensure that we sufficiently recover from whatever may be ailing us and continue to remain healthy. They are truly the greatest heroes, of not just the present but of all time. They are pulling long hours and working round the clock as the world is gripped with this deadly pandemic.
Around the world, the day is celebrated by organizing free health check-up camps to promote quality medical services free of cost among the public. Various awareness programmes are organized across the country to make people aware of health check-up, prevention, diagnosis, proper treatment of various diseases etc. General screening test camps are also organized to assess the health status, health counseling, health nutrition talks and chronic diseases awareness among poor people and senior citizens. Several activities at schools and college levels are also organized to encourage youth to choose and dedicatedly follow the medical profession.
Doctors’ Day is also a tribute to all medical professionals who have ethically treated patients and served the society irrespective of all odds. Violence against doctors from different parts of the country have been reported. Such acts are inhumane, a blot on the mankind and need to be condemned. All of us should understand the value of doctors in our lives and offer them our respects. At the same time, it is also a day for the doctors to get aware about their roles, importance and responsibilities and to follow those responsibilities of their profession dedicatedly and in a humane way.