The Delhi government’s ‘happiness therapy’ initiative, launched at Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) Hospital with much fanfare and a jig by Health Minister Satyendar Jain, has run into opposition from doctors, who say that before asking them to dance, the government should improve the condition of hospitals.
Inaugurating the happiness therapy on a pilot project at GTB Hospital on Thursday, Jain had danced to a number by singer Falguni Pathak, as he held an infant in his hands.
Inspired by a hospital in Brazil, ‘happiness therapy’ entails a group dance by hospital staff to boost morale and lift spirits of patients. It also includes music, songs, meditation, yoga and laughter “under proper supervision” for patients in all wards, except the ICU and Emergency.
‘Can help elevate mood’
Former AIIMS director M C Mishra said such an initiative can help lift the mood of a patient. “The therapy does not cost any money. It is a free enterprise, in which you can elevate the mood of a patient. Rather than criticising it, the doctors should be a part of it,” he said.
The Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) of the hospital, however, opposed the initiative, and said they will not participate in the dance.
“Instead of introducing such initiatives, the government should focus on improving the condition of hospitals. Toilets in hospital wards are in an extremely bad shape. Patients will be happy if they have such basic facilities maintained. There are around 700 resident doctors in the hospital and we all oppose such initiatives, which are merely a publicity stunt,” said Dr Anand Chopra, president, RDA, GTB hospital.
The government has said the project will be extended to all hospitals under it. “The aim is to bridge the gap between patients and doctors. The initiative is planned in five stages — dance, music, yoga, physiotherapy and meditation. This will also eventually reduce stress among patients who are being treated,” Jain had told The Indian Express.
The Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA), an umbrella body of resident doctors, also objected to the initiative. “Music has certain benefits on the health of a patient. It elevates the mood, but it cannot be considered a treatment. Many hospitals in Delhi still do not have basic health facilities. Only Lok Nayak Hospital has an MRI machine. If the government plans to extend it (happiness therapy) to other hospitals, we will protest at the national level. This is completely unnecessary,” said Dr Sumedh Sandanshiv, president, FORDA.
When contacted, Dr Sunil Kumar, medical director of GTB Hospital, said: “I want our hospital to be the friendliest in the city… The initiative is not compulsory for any doctor. Of course, they have many other responsibilities.”