Dr Ketan Desai, former chief of Indian Medical Association who had faced corruption charges and was exonerated, has received support from over 2 lakh members in the country as he took charge as President of the World Medical Association — the top medical ethics body. Desai, who is at the WMA’s annual assembly in Taiwan, told The Indian Express, “It just shows that the world recognises that injustice was meted out to me.”
For several years, Desai had faced allegations that he conspired in 2009 to have the Medical Council recommend that a private medical college be allowed to add more students. Desai has been dogged by legal charges since he was first elected WMA president in 2009. These charges prevented him from becoming president in 2010. But in 2013, after IMA assured WMA that all charges against him had been dropped, Desai was slotted in for the 2016/17 WMA presidency.
In an exclusive interview to The Indian Express, Desai said: “The CBI has closed the case of disproportionate assets and corruption charges levelled against me in 2012.” He added: “It is after 35 years that an Indian is now President of WMA and I feel this is an ideal opportunity to check healthcare facilities across various countries and see which ones are best suited for India.”
KK Aggarwal, president-elect of IMA that has 2.7 lakh members, said the WMA president was a prestigious post and would allow key issues affecting the Indian healthcare system to be addressed at a global platform.
The urologist, as the new WMA President, told delegates from more than 40 national medical associations: ‘In countries like Turkey, India and the United Kingdom, there are continued political attempts to undo or marginalise autonomy and self-governance of the medical profession, including mauling and trampling on the trinity of professional autonomy, clinical independence and self-governance. Yet professional autonomy is…less about physicians and more about patients’ rights”