Context, Origin and Initial Years of Medico Friend Circle (Session:1.1)

This is the beginning of a series of webinars that mfc has organised in view of the 50th anniversary of it’s conception and also as a part of recording it’s own history orally. The panelists are members of mfc right from it’s first decade and have been instrumental in the course it eventually took. In the video, Ashok Bhargav (Co-founder, member, national convenor of Tarun Shanti sena) discusses the socio political scenario of the country and the world in the decades preceding mfc that had an impact on it’s inception. Other panelists Anant Phadke, Ashvin Patel, Mehtab Bamji, Ulhas Jajoo bring out the key features of mfc as a newly formed group of young health professionals that went beyond the conventional roles ascribed to their respective educational backgrounds.


The Initial Idea of Medico Friend Circle (Session :1.2)

In this talk moderated by Rajeev B R, Abhay Bang, one of the co-founders of mfc, shares thoughts and information on the critical analysis of mfc’s initial years. This is followed by a reflection by one of the newer members of mfc, Vedkumar Ghantaji. The Q&A session revolves around mfc’s role in the present times (which is very similar to the times when it was founded), the contribution of local mfc groups, Imrana Qadeer’s reflections and Ashok Bhargava listing the many action-oriented works done by mfc. 

Medico Friend Circle’s Engagement with Medical Education (Session :2)

In this session, Dhruv Mankad and Mira Shiva share their experiences from the 1983 conference on ‘Alternative Medical Curriculum’ hosted by Gonoshasthya Kendra (Bangladesh). Dhruv Mankad and Ravi Narayan share how mfc’s anthology titled ‘Medical Education Re-examined’ came about and was used for advocacy with various Medical Institutions in the early 1990s. Towards the end, Anand Zachariah shares how the deliberations at mfc influenced his thinking about Medical Education and his efforts at CMC Vellore. He also shares the current challenges that this sector is facing and his concerns about the future. 

Medico Friend Circle’s Response to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy (Session:3)

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 2nd-3rd December 1984 was unprecedented, killing thousands of people overnight and permanently injuring several thousand more. Repercussions of the tragedy continue to be borne by local communities to this day. During its annual meeting in December 1984, the mfc received requests from local groups and civil society organisations in Bhopal for their involvement with the relief efforts. This session lays out the mfc’s response to the tragedy. Besides, it talks about how the tragedy, in turn, influenced mfc as an organization, and its individual members. ‘I grew several years in a single day’, says Yogesh. And very importantly, the session also delves into what more/different should mfc have done while responding to the tragedy which it couldn’t. But then, as Sathyu says, and Thelma agrees, ‘it is not like the bus has left.’ The issue is still alive in Bhopal, and at several places across the World.

MFC’s Linkages with Drug Activism (Session :4)

In this session moderated by Anant Phadke, Meera Shiva touches upon several incidents and several individuals on either side of the table of drug dialogue within the country and beyond. She mentions KP Sasi’s documentary titled ‘In the Name of Medicine’.
Chinu Srinivasan shares his experiences as a drug manufacturer at Locost Pharmaceuticals and as a litigant at All India Drug Action Network in several PILs. He refers to a publication titled ‘A Lay Person’s Guide to Medicines’ that is also available in Hindi.
C. Sathyamala shares experiences from the campaigns against Estrogen-Progesterone Forte, NET-EN and Depo Provera. She stresses on the need for rigorous research when the fight is against not just the Pharmaceutical Industry but also the medical fraternity.
Anurag Bhargava recounts his initial years managing the pharmacy at Jan Swasthya Sahyog, and later, doing the background work for PILs and helping States formulate Essential Drug Lists. He expresses his angst about atrophy of public sector and urges the younger friends to engage with drug activism.
Gopal Dabade talks about his engagement with Drug Action Forum – Karnataka, and Narendra Gupta shares about his involvement in the free drug scheme in Rajasthan.
Anant concludes by highlighting successes of various movements in making essential drugs available in the country. However, he finds the present drug regulation scenario as bad as, if not worse then, what it was in the 1980s.