Saturday, August 15, 2009

Combating flu

Flu is a seasonal ritual. It gets christened differently each time. Thus we have bird flu, swine flu, Spanish flu etc. Diseases cannot be eradicated totally. However, impact of the disease can be managed both at societal level and individual level.

China says that though many have contracted swine flu, there was no death due to swine flu there. Is it possible? Given the state of authoritarianism, anything is possible in China. They doctor statistics as much as they doctor people. At the same time it is possible that China did indeed handle the swine flu threat exceptionally well.

What is happening in India is a matter of deep concern. People's hygiene levels and doctors' diagnostic capacity are crucial determinants of impact of flu. Sadly it is not uncommon to witness patients coughing on one another's face in a nursing home in the presence of medical professionals who blissfully turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to what is happening.

Personal hygiene with a concrete set of dos and don'ts should be taught at primary school levels. It is a mockery of our educational system if we need the outbreak of a pandemic in order to teach people how to cough and where to spit. Government should carry out educative campaigns wherever people gather to enable them to imbibe good hygiene.

Many doctors seem to have lost basic diagnostic skills. Instances are aplenty of prescription of antibiotics for viral cold and fever and of irrelevant antibiotics for bacterial infections. Diagnosis is poor and prescription is poorer. I wonder who can solve this problem.


Anonymous said...

I agree with your comment on the state of medical profession. Don't you find misfits in other professions also ?

K.R.Srivarahan said...

More than anything else, the swine flu crisis has exposed our helplessness. Belated diagnosis, paucity of testing kits, non-availability of surgical masks and ever-lengthening queues at government hospitals are a devastating testimony to our total negligence. As a nation, we are yet to learn the art of crisis management. We only look to Providence to save us from critical situations.