We recently had a discussion on the AIIMSONIAN’s forum about the quality of health care in rural and the smaller places in urban India.

One of the people on the forum wrote

” Sir with all due respect …the condition continues to be the same till date……here all of us are sitting in our cosy confines and feeling bad and ashamed…can any one tell me how many of us have tried getting back to where u belong to and giving back to people you really owe.

Wait a second I understand it’s difficult to go to a PHC and join as we would not do justice to what we have learned here but we could very well go back to our states and develop specialities and serve our own people.

That makes our part, the rest can be taken care by the govt”

 

I want to tell you my thoughts on this, so this is what I wrote back to him.

HIs message crystalises the eternal question that has plagued us. And troubled some of us.

It often leads to accusations of desertion and selfishness and criticism (of those who left) by those who got left behind in India. And believe me, just because many of us stayed back doesn’t mean we can arrogate to ourselves the right to moralise and be self righteous and judgemental!!!

 

I would like to look at it from a different perspective.

A lot of AIIMSONIANS and medical doctors from other institutions went abroad after their basic training. It helped them to learn new skill sets and provided them with an environment where they could thrive, intellectually and professionally.

 

And whats wrong with that?

Many of my batchmates have reached very high positions in their specialities and have contributed tremendously to the evolution of their speciality. They have also made us, who are in India, very, very proud of their achievements.

All of us would like that to happen to our own selves.

 

Some (like me) could not go because of issues of resources or other issues.

I have tremendous respect for the medical training in the west because it doesn’t discriminate in training, provided you have the ability and willingness to work hard (you also need a wee bit of luck, I guess) and in getting great jobs, at least till a certain level in the heirarchy. I wish I could say the same for India.

So as Priyank says, rather than moping about how selfish we have been, it is better to see what we can do to help people at home, once we have achieved what we want to.

 

This can be in the form of disseminating your skills and knowledge in the form of knowledge and technology transfers, supporting worthwhile causes like Jan SwasthyaSahyog (Raman Kataria’s group is doing a fantastic job), helping people to get fellowships which would enable them to acquire new skills which can be used here, encourage exchange of ideas and experiences in handling problems on a macro scale because there are different and equally successful ways of solving a problem.

 

A short planned visit by you to provide didactical and hands on training would serve the same purpose and would be welcomed by most institutions in India. You all come home for a while ever so often anyway, so just build a few days into such programmes.

With your kind of knowledge and skill sets, it would be wrong to expect you to come and work in PHCs; in fact its very silly to let the discussion become so impractical.

The government is trying, Organisations like AIIMS are beginning to take their expertise to other areas and with us all joining hands, we will be able to make a difference irrespective of where we live.

 

So come on, do whatever you can; every small bit helps. And I know you guys out there are more than willing.