01 Mar 2024  |   05:33am IST

Letter to the editor ( 01 March 2024 )

Implement minimim working hours for docs

This has reference to Dr  Radharao Gracias article ‘Time at the GMC’ (Herald, 28 February) and his observation that the same team of doctors was on duty virtually twenty four hours seven days a week at GMC. 

Though it’s widely recognized that healthcare professionals often go above and beyond to provide quality care, the detrimental effects of extended work hours on patient outcomes cannot be ignored. The quality of care delivered by overworked doctors may suffer due to rushed consultations, inadequate attention to patient concerns, and decreased continuity of care. 

Furthermore, the long-term health implications for healthcare providers cannot be overlooked. As a community, we must recognize the toll that excessive work hours take on both doctors and patients. 

It is imperative that healthcare organizations prioritize strategies to mitigate the risks associated with long hours, such as implementing reasonable work hour limits, providing adequate rest breaks, and fostering a culture that promotes work-life balance and self-care among healthcare providers. 

Addressing the ill effects of doctors working long hours is crucial for improving patient care and safeguarding the well-being of healthcare professionals. It is time for our leaders to work towards a healthcare system that prioritizes patient safety and provide wellness for health professionals.

Gabriel (GR) Crasto,   Navelim 

Water crisis could get even worse

It is learnt that residents in Chicolna-Bogmalo get just an hour of water supply. Residents of Headland Sada have barrels placed outside their homes to collect water from water-tankers. In Majorda, Calata, Goans reportedly buy water to drink while some families get five litres of potable water per day at dawn which trickles through the taps. 

Like several other places in the state the water crisis has also hit Chapora, Assagao and Anjuna residents who have been staging protests over irregular supply of water. With the summer season ahead, things could only get worse. Besides the low pressure, the advent of mega projects has only worsened the situation. 

Water usage for real estate development needs to be regulated. Access to clean and safe water is a fundamental human right, yet it remains elusive for many citizens. Population growth, and urbanization are putting increasing pressure on our finite water resources. Rainwater harvesting and recycled wastewater allow to reduce scarcity and ease pressures on groundwater and other natural water bodies. Groundwater recharge, that allows water moving from surface water to groundwater, is a well-known process to prevent water scarcity. 

Increased awareness by citizens, particularly in urban areas is crucial. Water scarcity can lead to economic decline as farming activities are affected. In addition, inadequate sanitation can lead to deadly diarrhoeal diseases, including cholera and typhoid fever, and other water-borne illnesses. We need to act now before it is too late.

Adelmo Fernandes, Vasco

Violators of law need to be put in place 

Members of the Legislature and other public institutions swear an oath of allegiance to the Constitution to uphold its provisions, which specifically include the integrity of the nation and equality of all citizens of the country irrespective of caste, creed, gender, religion or origin.

Any violation of these provisions by ordinary citizens also constitutes an offence under criminal law. Any failure to take prompt and effective action against the violators of these provisions will ultimately lead to anarchy disintegration of any nation, as has been the case of countries like Yugoslavia and our neighboring country which is economically bankrupt. We must all realize this threat perception and ensure that any attempt to foment discord among our fellow - citizens is nipped in the bud before it’s too late.

Diomedes Pereira, Corlim

BJP has perfected the art of poaching

Even though dates for the 2024 elections are yet to be confirmed, the BJP is on a winning spree in the recent Upper House elections.  The latest round of Rajya Sabha elections saw blatant cross-voting by MLAs on a major scale, endangering the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh and embarrassing the Samajwadi Party in UP. 

Defections have become the theme of politics, upsetting the mandate given by the people to their representatives and bringing standards to ever newer lows. PM Modi proudly boasts to the world about the essence of Indian democracy.  However, what the nation witnessed during the Rajya Sabha voting is an antithesis of what the world understands as democracy.

The BJP has perfected the art of engineering defections in its political rivals, especially the Congress over the last decade through the notorious programme dubbed Operation Lotus. The party ensures the defecting MLAs escape the impact of the anti-defection law by making them resign from the Assembly, subsequently reducing the government into a minority one.  What follows next is anybody’s guess.

The BJP’s latest success is proof of its adaptability and astute political strategy.  After all, in modern times, political expediency is everything, giving less importance to moral values, ideologies and loyalties.

Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

Breakfast, midday meals needed for students 

A few days ago, the Supreme Court of India has left it to the states and union territories to decide on setting up community kitchens for providing nutritious food free of cost to the underprivileged to tackle hunger and starvation deaths. Community kitchens can also effectively tackle malnutrition.

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) is conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The nutrition indicators for children under 5 years shows that 1 out of 3 children (35.5 per cent) is a victim of stunting and 1 out of 5 children (19.3 per cent) is a victim of wasting as per the recent NFHS - 5 (2019 - 20) report. India's child wasting and child stunting rates are horrific in both government's NFHS report and the 2023 Global Hunger Index report where India's position has slid into an alarming 111th rank among 125 countries. 

This is the reason why the New National Educational Policy has proposed that the midday meals provided to students in government and aided schools should be supplemented by breakfast as children are unable to learn optimally when they are hungry. 

Breakfast plus midday meals for the students and community kitchens for the needy must be started without delay to rid of the ignominy of hunger and malnutrition that cannot be hidden by human spaceflight mission.

Sujit De, Kolkatta

Life is a gift from God, so let's be thankful

The article by Joseph Lewis D’Silva titled ‘Symphony of Life’ (Herald February 27,  2024) brought out the reality of life, a deep insight into what life really is, yes, our life is a journey. Joseph rightly states, our journey on this earth is built around a few fundamental milestones such as, birth, education, job, marriage, the silver years, health issues and finally the reality of death.

Life is uncertain, we do not know what is in store for us, no matter what the astrologers tell you. The ultimate destiny is planned by the Almighty. 

Life is full of surprises and difficulties, we need to use our gifts and talents to find our way through it all. The rose for instance, blooms inspite of the thorns all around it trying to choke it, so to say. But ultimately the rose comes out triumphantly.

Yes, everything we have is a gift from God. We need to live our life righteously, in harmony with man and nature. And yes, in the hustle and bustle of life we need to give God his space. We need to make time to thank the Lord for everything that we have in life. Life itself is a gift from God!

Melville X D’Souza, Mumbai


Idhar Udhar