National Doctor’s Day 2021: Significance and history of day honouring relentless service by doctors

National Doctor’s Day is observed on 1 July in India by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to express our gratitude to all medical practitioners and health workers for their relentless service.

Though the date of National Doctor’s Day observance varies from one nation to the other, it’s an event that is celebrated all over the world. In India, the day honours iconic physician Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy for his selfless service to the society and phenomenal contribution in the medical field. National Doctor’s Day falls on the the day that was Roy's birthday (1 July, 1882) and the day he died (1 July, 1962).

National Doctor’s Day History

National Doctor’s Day was introduced by the Government of India in 1991 in the fond memory of Dr Roy. Apart from being a great physician, he was Bengal's second Chief Minister (for 14 years) who was known for his remarkable leadership qualities. He was also an excellent educationist, philanthropist and freedom fighter. Dr Roy played a key role in shaping the Indian Medical Association (1928) and Medical Council of India.

A Bharat Ratna recipient, Dr Roy’s exemplary work included founding Indian Institute of Mental Health, the Infectious Disease Hospital, TB Hospital (Jadavpur), Chittaranjan Seva Sadan, Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital, Victoria Institution (college), Chittaranjan Cancer Hospital and the Chittaranjan Seva Sadan.

Dr Roy was an exceptional physician who would treat patients with such compassion and understanding that people used to hold him in high esteem. The British Medical Journal’s obituary described him as the “first medical consultant in the subcontinent of India, who towered over his contemporaries in several fields”.

National Doctor’s Day Significance

National Doctor’s Day is meant to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the doctors. With the Covid-19 situation, it has been all the more challenging for medical staff to cater to the surge in number of patients. They have been risking their lives to deal with this pandemic.

Sending cards, flowers (red carnations) to the physicians is a great way to express gratitude for their continued service to humanity.

Doctor’s Day facts

-Winder Georgia was the first country to celebrate National Doctor’s Day on 28 March, 1933

-The US celebrates National Doctor’s Day on 30 March

-India’s first female doctor was Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi who got her degree from Woman’s Medical College in Pennsylvania

-Iran celebrates it on 23 August

-Cuba celebrates on 3 December