Demystification of Medical Practice the Need of the Hour
Dr Suresh Kuruganti, MPH, Consultant,Public health, International Centre for Advancement of Rural Eye care (ICARE), L V Prasad Eye Institute
Demystification of medical practice the need of the hour
In the past decades several focussed strides have been made especially in our country to reduce/eliminate the morbidity and mortality caused by communicable diseases with varied degrees of success.
The burden of communicable diseases has dwindled significantly in general. However the burden of non communicable chronic diseases is going up very steeply and non communicable diseases have come to occupy a very prominent position and have wider and vast implications on the future of majority of our citizens and also on the future generations.
Ignorance about the cause and effect, especially in relation to the development of non communicable diseases is a stupendous barrier in effectively addressing the issues related to them (Chronic non communicable diseases)
Primary prevention is a practical, viable, cost effective, strategy in tackling a majority of them generally. Dissemination of valid and elementary facts, removing myths and demystification of medical practice are some of the steps in this goal.
In general terms there is a huge gap between demand and supply in medical manpower especially in rural and type III cities/ towns ( where majority of the people live).There is a very urgent need to prepare these communities to understand and equip themselves to effectively tackle the non communicable chronic disease epidemic/s before it is too late.
Simple, yet, relevant facts, about these conditions require to be shared in simple terms and be disseminated widely through a very large team of workers/ volunteers. Visual impairment, blindness, high blood pressure, overweight, obesity, Diabetes mellitus, arthritis, etc are a few conditions where a dent can be made on the volume of disease load through this broad based approach.
Volunteers from the communities have a big potential and can play a decisive role in reaching their respective communities. By facilitating a proactive health seeking behaviour they will also be able to influence the communities to avail the existing health care facilities, can bring about life style changes and dissuade, disease causing life styles/ practices.
The health/ disease related facts require to be shared, simple practices like testing visual acuity, Diabetes risk score preparation, Blood Pressure measurement etc., have to be taught to the volunteers to identify/ shortlist people at risk and facilitate their referral to primary care personnel/ Primary medical care facilities. A large number of persons with higher secondary level education are available, accruing in these areas (Rural areas) generally.
The experiences in Blindness free ADA village project1, Community linked Integrated Project, Sight to Re sight projects at LV Prasad eye institute rural network have amply demonstrated the usefulness and impacts of such approaches. Vision Health Guardians( volunteers from respective villages) after a very brief training could identify persons with visual impairment and blindness using simple diagnostic kits, could identify persons with high diabetic risk score ,could record blood pressure with electronic blood pressure recording instruments and refer them to vision centres, PHCs for confirmation/validation and management. Demystification of these procedures/ practices would improve public perception of health issues and promote rational approaches in addressing their health problems.