They come from far, they come from near, the old and the young, the infirm and the diseased - all seeking succour at the Centre. How many people, how many ailments, all clamouring for help. At times just seeing the mass of huamnity waiting at the doors makes the heart sink. The need to be constantly alert, particularly at the end of a long day, takes its toll. The aged and the poor have their own insecurities, many a time a kind word, a smile is all that it takes to reduce the twin burdens of age as well as poverty - one can do nothing much about either - at best some palliation - some placebos - knowing that these medicines will not harm them.
An old man walks, rather limps in. As one talks with him, I find that he is my age. Relentless poverty, a harsh environment and the daily struggle for livelihood have aged him. Clinically he has moderate to severe osteoarthritis in both the knees - we all know the cause factors - poor nutrition, overuse of joints etc. Anti-inflammatory as well as analgesics will only help him up to a certain point. Then what - knee replacement!!!!
He breaks down, he has a son, who is bright and doing well in school. The boy wants to study further, the father says "who will support the family? I can not work and there needs to be food in the house". There is no answer to this conundrum.
Coming to the health centre is a double whammy - loss of a day's wages (about Rs 50) as well as havng topay for the medicines (Rs 10). How does one recompense that? So many questions at all times. At times I wish I had a million bucks everyday to help out the needy but thats just a dole.
Health can never improve without some improvement in the economic status of the poor. That is a big challenge which faces each and every one of us. The healthy GDP does not reflect in the lives of the poor in this country. Economic policies are possibly skewed. Yes setting up SEZs are good for the country - but why take prime fertile land? Why can not these be set up in arid "unproductive" land?? Not that any land can be considered unproductive take Ralegaon Sidhi as an example.
These are just some thoughts that keep coming up in my mnd. The public forum seems an ideal place in which to share these thoughts.
Bye one and all
Sunday, December 03, 2006
What a smile - Venkataramanama after six months of Anti Tuberculosis Treatment. If you all remember, she had Disseminated TB necessitating admission in St Johns Medical College at Bangalore. (see post "Case of the month - June 2006)
She has been a regular visitor the Health Centre and her smiles seem to light up the the room. She comes from a little hamlet about 30 km away, changing three buses on the way. Quite remarkable considering that she is only 10 years old and barely literate. Her parents are too poor to accompany her all the way to the health centre and therefore our instructions to her have to be very simple and straightforward.
One of our most cooperative patients, she has helped us learn about fortitude and courage.