Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A difference is only a difference if it makes a difference.

Social injustice has everything to do with illnesses. Poverty is the mother of all diseases from common cold to cancer. A child born to a poor mother will have a very small hippocampus major, small pancreas, small vessels etc making that child get all killer diseases in the 30s; in addition, the small hippocampus unfits the mind for any intellectual pursuits.
It is not prevention that should be our motto but health promotion. Disease is failed health promotion. Prevention brings in screening in its wake which promotes disease mongering. Every human body is built to last as long as it can, thanks to the immune system. No one should try to be here for ever, as s/he will certainly not succeed, doctors and medicines notwithstanding. The immune system needs boosting on a regular basis to keep the person disease free. Modern medicine is not doing that. Clean water, air and food are of vital importance. One third of the world population lives on less than one meal a day. Nutritional immune deficiency syndrome (NIDS) is the biggest killer of children in poorer countries, deadlier than AIDS.
Poverty economics has to be learnt not in Oxbridge but in the slums of the poor countries. Then only one gets the true picture. It is akin to doing Dictator experiments of John List in real life situations which showed that mankind is not altruistic, unlike the controlled experiments of the 2002 Nobel winning work of Vernon Smith and Daniel Kahneman, showing humankind to be hard wires to be altruistic.
The medical profession, like all other professions, has become homo economicus. We, doctors, are not concerned with poverty eradication lest we should break our own rice bowl! Doctors can never survive without patients while patients could survive without doctors!

Hospitals and doctors have very little to do with health of the populace. More doctors and less health has been the finding of the 14 industrialised countries’ study. (JAMA 2000; 284: 483-485) Civil engineers, politicians, social workers, philanthropes, and the altruistic social organizations should be able to do something in keeping the health of the public. Food, shelter and water with a clean environment, coupled with economic empowerment and ethical education should do the trick to keep our immune system at its peak. Will the powers that be wake up to this reality please?

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