Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Another worthy contribution by Mrs. Delirium

As we make headlines again for all the wrong reasons, this time we should be given the benefit of the doubt because they were not our doing-not exactly, so to speak.

So following our national sport of evading responsibility and blaming others, this time it is the Almighty himself who is to be blamed. The Heavens have turned against us in the form of floods and that tiny thing causing that beastly disease–Dengue.

 Since this time surprisingly it was not our not-so-friendly-neighbors infesting mosquitoes and using them in place of nuclear weapons, nor was it a conspiracy on the part of the superpowers using them as micro drones. Of course, there is always the theory of Biological Warfare by our enemies using the mosquitoes as a vector. By the way our population keeps on growing by leaps and bounds; it will take them a while to commit genocide, even if they wanted to.

The popular view is that Azaab-e-Ilaahi has descended upon us to punish our deeds. Not that there is the slightest of doubt in anyone’s mind regarding the Almighty’s displeasure with us as a nation. We are guilty of all the evils mentioned in the Book and failing to acknowledge them beneath the cloak of self-righteousness.

These natural disasters if anything have ripped apart the gaping holes in our system. Our lack of basic infrastructure and myopic vision making it impossible to respond to any disaster is apparent. The Japanese had their earthquakes and the Americans had their hurricanes in the not too distant past. Undisputedly, they are rich on resources available at their disposal. But how we have managed to use/abuse ours is also a study in itself. The damage inflicted has been blown out of proportion by our own incompetence.

While there will be innovative means deployed to raise funds for the floods (conferences, telethons etc.), one wishes the same imagination had been used for something erstwhile in apprehension of the impending floods.

The Government has responded with surprising alacrity to the Dengue crisis, but while our neighbors have been successful in containing it through research, we chose to ignore the problem when it could have been effectively dealt with without causing the large-scale damage it is causing today.

However, it is also in moments like these when one sees the spirit of nationhood re-kindled and everyone contributing in whatever way they can to help. Also, it is amusing to see the local health authorities preaching lessons of public health, long forgotten and never implemented upon. Overnight, we seem to have discovered the benefits of keeping our environs clean and realizing the importance of prevention.

And in a typical hypocritical way, we would spend more time organizing en-masse prayers than take any practical steps for this purpose but the hand of divinity is omnipotent and ubiquitous, like a variable biasing the end-result of a spreadsheet. Because when one has managed to the best of one’s ability; we conclude “Dua karein. Allah behter karega.”

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From the pen ( oops keypad ) of a young doc. Being reproduced originally

As the young doctors’ strike in Punjab continues in its second month, the longest ever in memory and the first one in history (as per credible sources) to shut down the emergencies completely, putting the death toll up as 10 documented cases till the last update and with thousands of patients denied access not only to the emergency, but also outdoor services and indoor services including diagnostic procedures and operations.
Doctors have been labeled as being insensitive and without a conscience. Of being a silent spectator to the agony of thousands of patients while keeping their mercenary interests at heart. This is how the picture would look from outside.
While the closure of emergencies is debatable and not personally endorsed, like many other things in our society at present that we are witness to in recent times, this also has a two-dimensional view, like two sides of a coin. To anyone cognizant of the problems plaguing our health sector, would know that this was a volcano waiting to erupt. This is the manifestation of the deprivation and anger experienced by the healers of a nation that have been denied their access to a decent living despite being the cream of the nation in terms of academics and toiling for long hours with no respite. Being overworked and underpaid is a combination that does not bear well with graduates who have invested a considerable amount of labour and their family’s money to earn this degree. Parents who send their children to medical schools thinking they will get a payback on their investment as soon as their child earns the coveted title of a ‘doctor’. In face of rising competition on both public and private fronts, their dream is hardly, if ever realized.
The ultimate culprit is of course our infrastructure which has a meager health budget and in that the key deliverers of healthcare are given very low priority. So much so that they have to work unpaid, sometimes for years. The ultimate aim of every doctor aspiring to be wealthy is practicing in private, but that includes years of rigorous training before they are able to qualify. This and the absence of job security with the Government reluctant to fill permanent posts compounds the problem. This has led to a massive brain drain of doctors choosing instead to serve in more lucrative posts in the West and Middle East. So have been things for a while.
What is different this time is that with a free media and democracy, our nation is much more vocal and unafraid to voice their demands. And the winds of change have swept the health sector too. These young practitioners are much more daring and outgoing than their predecessors in raising their voices to the injustices committed to their community. They know their worth, though the Government has been slow in realizing it and they have successfully demonstrated it. These are not the doctors of yore who were content with what little was being thrown their way and ultimately seeking their livelihood abroad as consultant posts even after post graduation are few and far between. They on a large scale represent the Pakistan of today, the youth who want their right and they want it NOW. They are not scared of the repercussions primarily because they have nothing to lose.
If successful, their case would be cited as an example where a deprived lot fighting for their due recognition has brought the system down to its knees.

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