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Showing posts from February, 2013

On wrong diagnosis, wrong medication and unnecessary surgery

(for a facebook group)These things do occur. But I think the issue is complex and there is the danger of oversimplifying the problem.
1. First, we do not know the magnitude of the problem. Except for personal experience and stories from other people, there’s no evidence of how big the problem is in Nagaland. A statement like, ‘Naga doctors often give wrong medicines’ do not hold water. A person who has had two bad experiences at the doctor’s chamber may be enough for him to make such a sweeping statement. But for each complaint, we do not know if there are a thousand cases rightly diagnosed and rightly treated. To make allegations without solid evidence won’t be right.
2. Are all such complaints truly/proven cases of medical negligence or are there gaps in communication and understanding? There will be cases where patients lodge no complaint. But how many doctors are charged of negligence, proven guilty and debarred from practice in Nagaland?
3. Lack of facilities for…

Looking for Naga health enthusiasts

Sir, some politeness please

I sat for an interview at the World Health Organization in their Delhi office. The receptionist asked if I’d like to have tea or coffee. She showed us to a room to rest and told us to feel comfortable. The security man thanked me after the security check for allowing him to search my bag. When I entered the room, the four interviewers all stood up to shake hands with me and each of them gave a self introduction of his name and what he is doing at WHO. When they asked questions, it was as though they want to learn something from me. 
Our politicians, Bureaucrats, government officers, and yes not forgetting our students' union leaders, on the other hand, behave like our new colonial masters. From big to subtle ways, they do things to show us our place; that they are at a higher level and we are inferior. It can be discriminating, oppressive, and dehumanizing. But it can also be funny. Funny when some young people who just got into civil services start to act as though they have bec…

Solo drive to Imphal in a fantasy F1 race

For a day in a long time, there was time to kill. The only thing to do for the day was to reach Imphal in one piece. So, I filled my tank, updated my facebook status, and drove. As I crossed Lerie gate at Kohima, I set the meter to zero to see for myself the distance between Kohima and Imphal. Left to myself with no music system in the ‘powerless-steeringed’ Bolero Invader, I tried to do what I proposed to do in my facebook status, i.e. to contemplate on the bigger questions of life. To ponder on existential question like, ‘why is there something instead of nothing?’ or ‘why did the chicken cross the road?’ But I kept searching; searching for things to click. After frequent stops, I decided to just drive; else I won’t reach Imphal before dark. 
Then I imagined if I were in an F1 race. I started on P30 (assuming that 29 cars have gone ahead of me this day) opting to start on the soft tyres. Soon I was up to P25. But frequent stops for photo shoot kept pulling me back the grid. I change…

To spray or not to spray?

Spray of DDT for malaria vector control is discontinued all over the world except in India particularly in the North East. The WHO has objected to its use but the Indian government has argued that Indoor Residual Spray (IRS) needs to be continued due to its effectiveness and disease endemicity in the region. Should it be continued in Nagaland? Here are some pros and cons: Pros: It is effective in vector control. UMS Dimapur study shows that vectors in the State are still susceptible to DDT although resistance does exist.There is no good alternative. Long Lasting Insecticide-treated bed Nets (LLINs) are costly and difficult to procure.It is safe if technical guidelines are followed during spraying.Cons:
DDT is a bio-hazard. If it is sprayed outside and enters the food chain, its concentration increases through Bio-magnification.Acceptance is low. There is reluctance to have it sprayed indoor. People prefer to have it sprayed outside which is counter-productive (chases the mosquitoes insid…

On health care in Nagaland

When Delhi tells us to sit down, we sit down. When we are told to stand, we stand. Why, because Delhi has money and we don’t. So, we implement what Delhi sanctions for, unquestionably. The State government’s allocation to health (which again is from Delhi, but which can be used for State specific needs) is so low that it can barely manage the salary of the regular employees and build a few health centre buildings each year. There’s neither political commitment nor the knowledge of what’s going on (except how to recruit grade IV staffs that we don't need, and where supply orders are).

But what Delhi plans for us may not be the best for Nagaland. Each political ministry wants to achieve quick and popular results during its time, in order to return to power in the next election. In health care, the present ministry is more interested in projects and programs than in general health services. Likewise, donor agencies like Gates Foundation, World Bank, Global Fund, etc. are more intere…

Zero Bulb Ideas (4): Power Back-up Plan

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