I was really wondering.
What is India's real major current problem?
Suppose we don’t read newspapers or hear radio or see TV or browse online news and switch off cell phones for two weeks.
What will happen? During the two-week period which would be the most important problem for us ?
Let me think for a Kerala household ?
The monsoon is showing its irritating presence and side effects.
Surely at least one of the children or old parents or somebody in the family will fall ill. Not serious, but a slight temperature, headache, cough or stomach upset. Being health conscious and well informed about symptoms and hundreds of viruses and illnesses, we rush to the nearest doctor. We have plenty of well-equipped clinics and hospitals in almost every small town and well-qualified physicians to attend. The modern doctor you face is not a general practitioner, but a specialist and hence has to first make sure that the patient’s illness comes under his expert special knowledge. The tests and atmosphere of the clinic keeps up the intensity of the slight illness and we are happy that proper medical care is given.
The doctor examines the various test reports and prescribes medicines.
The tests and consultation bills are quite shocking enough, but we don’t mind. When we go to the medical shop with the prescriptions, there is double shock. The prices of medicines have almost increased five to ten times in the last two years.
The slight illness which could have been cured by rest or fast or small adjustment in food intake or a bit of thulsi leaves or powdered pepper have made a sizable dent in the family budget.
This is a very serious problem.
The geometrical progressive increase in the cost of health care in a society where the mindset is geared to the super-specialities is to my mind, the most important problem of Kerala, and to great extent, India.
Of course, we relish in going to the costliest of hospitals for even minor treatments.
We are ready to get a by-pass surgery when proper rest and regular exercise with food control would have given better solace. At the first opportunity we rush to the super specialities craving for transplantations of any of our organs.
In Kochi, my city,we have dozens of wonderful super-speciality hospitals with an array of best-qualified personnel and ultra modern equipments. And there are hundreds of super clinics as well.
But Kochi, or for that matter, any of the towns in Kerala, do not have sewage system. No pure drinking water. The mosquito slapping is Kochi’s favourite past time. An esonophelia content of 10% in the blood is normal for Kochi citizen as against 5.5% for human race.
And Kerala's towns and villages are fast developing to be the suburb of Kochi.
I am not against hospitals and super specialities. I am of course apprehensive of the potentially dangerous social phenomena of religion, healthcare and education coming together under control of non-government, non-accountable bodies and tuning our minds. Our mindset is being corrupted in an irrevocable manner.
In India, 90% of our illness starts with fever or dysentery and both are caused by the impurities in the drinking water and contaminated surroundings. We don’t require super speciality costly hospitals for our general health care. The nature has given it in abundance in a simple medical equipment. It is a nine-inch long twig. Just make a six-inch deep hole on the earth before you sit for the morning toiletry and fill it with the displaced earth after you finish. You will stop contamination of the flowing water and create a richer soil.
The concrete jungle of Kochi has no soil or twigs.
But we can find alternatives. Technology can create wonders if focussed.
A super speciality drinking water project and multi-tier sewage disposal System.
It would be our nine-inch twig.