When it comes to health
Dr Pravin Togadia
‘All is well that ends well’ is a cliché. When it comes to health and well-ness, all is well that begins well. If one waits for getting well at the end and doing nothing in the beginning, the ‘end’ arrives faster and then nothing is well. Meaning, early check-up, diagnosis and timely treatment at the beginning of any illness is must.
A lot of data floats all over these days. That is information. Information is one of the sources of knowledge; but mere data or information is not knowledge. Capability to apply the information effectively for betterment is knowledge. See this: WHO data says since 2013, every year above five lakh people die of cancer and this will go up to seven lakh in 2015. This is not global data; it is our Bharat! Then there are such figures about diabetes, kidney ailments and cardiac problems, etc. Data helps. How to apply it?
Another cliché is ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Sure. Important. In some cases, it is possible; in some, difficult. So the best way to handle health is regular check up. Another step is that know the basic symptoms of commonly prevalent diseases.
Individual health of people in any country affects her or his efficiency resulting into the family expenses going up. Delayed treatments always cost more.
The burden of the delayed health treatments ultimately affects the nation’s finances. In a country like Bharat, public health centres and Government/ Corporation hospitals are the only places where the poor or lower middle class (and considering today’s inflation, even middle class!) can go for medical help. Many avoid it for various reasons. Some on daily wages or on lower salaries or insecure jobs cannot afford to get off from work. Some despise going to shabby and uncaring Government hospitals. Some (even the affording class!) simply delay the first check for the fear of being diagnosed with some serious disease! Result? Health complications: Expensive and tedious surgeries and dialysis or chemotherapy type treatment that put extreme pressures on family pockets and time. More worrisome is loss of precious human hours.
Life style changes, dietary controls and regular exercise prevent or control few diseases like diabetes or cardiac ailments. Even here, early check-ups are must. After check-up, the immediate treatment can save lives, money and reduce burden on nation’s total economy.
Solution? As I always say, ‘Together, let us make the difference’. Nobody wants to be ill or remain ill for long. Rather than following MNC route of marketing services / products invoking fear, we should take the base of ‘Solace and Care’. There are umpteen number of kind-hearted doctors who wish to help (and help too) the poor and needy patients their own way. Corporate hospitals have ‘help wings’ that attend the poor and needy patients. Over 50,000 temples and temple trusts in Bharat have various medical and health support projects varying from cancer to glaucoma to de-addiction to dialysis. RSS has hundreds of dialysis units charging mere Rs 100 or so. Shree Sathya Sai Trust runs the most modern heart hospital doing free heart surgeries of the needy. Maa Amritanandamayiji runs super specially hospital and medical units as a help to the society. There is Sankara Nethralaya for modern eye care. When Hindu scriptures say: Sarve api sukhinah santu, sarve santu Niraamaya, it implies that Niraamaya (with no disease) ensures Sukh (happiness). Our many temples, trusts follow this ‘All be happy; all be healthy’.
Health and wellness are the matters of national concern. Medical costs eat up almost 30 to 40 per cent of budgets. If managed in time, health complications can be averted and the costs saved. I have not mentioned various eye camps, blood donation drives, wheel chair distribution camps etc here. They too contribute a lot to the wellness of the nation. From diseases like cancer, cardiac problems, diabetes, renal / kidney ailments, eye sight / hearing, gynecological issues and even in psychiatric conditions, early diagnosis and timely treatment are of prime importance especially in a country like Bharat where facilities are less and population is high.
Thousands of professional doctors have come together and we all have together set-up a system that will help patients first of all remove the fear of the first check-up (regular and after noticing some symptoms of a diseases.) The systems will attend to the patients, examine them and guide them to further medical reports and then to the specialists. This has started giving amazing results! General perception is that doctors have a racket and therefore every time they ask for so many reports of blood/ X-ray, etc. Now the kind doctor who examines first ensures the lowest costs as well as making the patient aware of the need to know the disease to cure it in time. Mostly with no or minimal or less expensive surgical intervention, cure is possible and this is the knowledge that patients are appreciating.
Rather than waiting for Governments to do all, it is everyone’s duty to keep the society healthy and happy. Government can do one basic thing: No discrimination at least when it comes to health! If polio dose has to be given, it should be to kids of all religions. Just because globally some religions refuse to accept it and defame the polio drive as ‘sterilisation conspiracy’ they should not be exempted. It is risky for other kids to have a polio infested kids around. It puts extra costs on the nation to then later accommodate their living costs!
If 18 is the age for marriage for girls then it should be the same for all. In Kerala changing the law in Mallappuram for marriage age and bringing it down to 15 hurts the nation’s health. Weak, anemic, malnourished kids and anemic women is not the scene Bharat’s tax payers can afford. If two kids norm is there then it should be for all. Government units complete the given quota of sterilisation for family planning by sterilising Hindus only. In health and wellness how can there be any discrimination? It burdens the nation.
All is well that begins well. Wellness is not sloganeering and public speeches. Health and hygiene are not the topics of mere data. Everybody’s participation, involvement and contribution to making the nation healthy will go a long way.
The author is a renowned Cancer Surgeon and working president of VHP Contact: [email protected]