Thursday, 25 July 2013

small things, BIG meanings

A small incident happened yesterday.
It was the 10th morning since I started my ICMR study, in the Endocrinology Department, Govt. Hospital.
A lady quite old, who satisfied the criteria of having Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus for more than 5 years agreed to participate only because I would get the blood test that the doctor recommended done for her. She had a big thyroid swelling which was apparently not operated due to high BP and sugar levels. She'd come just to get her Anti-diabetic drugs refilled. After doing some simple tests to detect whether she had peripheral neuropathy(that's the main objective of the study), her blood sample was drawn and she was informed that I would collect the report for her and that she could get her fundoscopy done by then.

 Afternoon unfortunately she had to give another sample of blood since the previous one for some reason got hemolysed. Both she and her husband were going around the hospital the entire day with the fear of not getting tablets. But I managed to calm her down and took her to the doctor again explaining about the delay in the report. She was prescribed the necessary drugs. When I looked at her, she gave a pleading sign asking me to tell him about her swelling. When told, she was asked to see the surgery dept. By the time she visited the dept. which asked her to get a scanning done next week, I could get her RBS report which she showed the Endocrinologist. The old couple were very happy that they finally got her tablets and thanked me. Then something unusual happened. The lady waved at me and asked me to come out. She then began taking out money to offer me! I was like "No"! She kept insisting, I ran back into the dept and waved at her. They left happily. She would hardly have money for anything other than for her daily bread and yet she was insisting on me to take money without having asked for it!
That just showed how much that little care meant to her which reflected the hard fact of how little attention she had received before. I was happy that I could be of some help to them in guiding. But it was not too long that it made me realise she was just one of the whole lot of people out there who needed help. Who didn't know what to do. Who have the least awareness about illness. To whom the health facilities struggle to reach. Ofcourse there's nothing that the doctors can do as they are already working the entire day trying to help all those standing in the BIG queue at the OPD.
Then the question is how is the problem of lack of awareness, lack of health facilities just because of lack of MONEY going to be solved? Is education the only answer?
There are a lot of organisations, public health workers working for such people because prevention is better than cure which leads us to "awareness, a necessity for prevention". Just imagine an old man is aware about Diabetes and its complication and is tested frequently so that he could start medication early and have a quality life. But most people of this socio-economic status come to know that they have Diabetes when they get admitted due to a big wound on their foot which might be as worse that it needs amputation.
 I believe this awareness programs are not just the reponsibility of the people working in NGOs or in public health Dept, but should be taken up by Medical Students as well. There are about 40,525 medical students in India(according to Wiki :P). What if each one gets indulged in such activities as their curriculum, as their responsibility? Every person knows smoking is injurious to health but do they know how to quit it? We all know its not easy! So instead of just putting boards around our colleges and hospitals that once who smoke will be fined, why cant we conduct programs on how to quit smoking? A camp to test glucose levels of old people in a village? I'm sure this ideal plan too cant reach the massive population but don't you think it could make a huge difference??