A Doctor’s prospective
One of the CHIPIN founders is a medical
doctor and left India in 1981. His journey took him to
Iran, then to England and he is finally settled in USA.
He was able to see the differences in the regions of
world from medical prospective.
Iran and the rest of the Middle east
region does not have as bad problem of sanitation and
hygiene as in India. Their many people put their garbage
in plastic bag before throwing out, restaurants use
gloves and tongs to handle food and only a few people
defecate and urinate in public.
Medically one can see much less
proportion of infectious disease, compared to India.
Here we see more genetic diseases due to close relative
marriages and lifestyle related diseases due to smoking
When he moved to England and America, the medical scene
changed again. Infectious diseases, that make more than
80% of sickness in India are not known in all advanced
countries of the West. Following are some examples:
Diarrhea: In the west ,its treatment is
mostly without any antibiotic. Doctors do not think in
the line that their counterparts in India do. In India
it is mostly due to amoeba and sometimes even cholera
and other serious community outbreaks.
Abdominal pain: In India, its commonest
cause is amoeba or worms and patient is treated for
that. In the west both these are not known. Actually you
may have hard time finding medicine to treat worms.
Chronic Cough: In India, tuberculosis is the prime
suspect. Most Western doctors on the other hand have
never seen a case in their lifetime.
Skin Disease: In India, the first
treatment of chronic skin rash is to treat worms in the
tummy. Not so in the west. As mentioned, you do not get
anti-worm medicine here.
In the west infectious diseases, which is
still so prevalent in India, have been nearly eradicated
a long time back. Medical students learn about them more
as a history of medicine. If a person comes back with
malaria, typhoid or tuberculosis from India, his/her
diagnosis and treatment becomes a big challenge to the
doctors in the west.
In India, people die early of infections
diseases and the average life span is about 10 year less
than the west. This is why we do not live long enough to
manifest the non-infectious diseases, like high blood
pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancers that
comprise majority of diseases there.
In India we re still struggling with the
same diseases that this physician dealt with in 1970s
before leaving India. He feels that unlike the progress
in other fields, the medical scene has actually gone
backwards in India. Some reasoning behind this thinking
are as follows:
1, He remembers being able to drink tap
water in schools and home. Now filters are mandatory
2, Dengue and chikungunya was taught in
the medical college as a disease of Africa. It is common
in India now.
3, Multidrug resistant tuberculosis was
not common then and now it is so much worse.
When this NRI doctor visits his doctor friends in India,
the situation in the hospitals, nursing homes and their
own homes is no different. Again the insides of the
buildings are very clean but surroundings are full of
filth. This shows that people in India have become very
tolerant to dirty outdoors. It does not bother even the
An education on sanitation and hygiene is
needed for the whole county. We should try to get
involvement of higher and richer strata of the society
first. Not only they can afford to spend money on
garbage bags etc. , it is this section of the society
that produces maximum garbage also.
Moreover this section of the society can
influence community and the government to make the