The changing face of medicine
Mahmudur Rahman writes for DOT
With the advancement of science and technology medical science has taken a quantum leap. Unfortunately so has greed. Gone are the days when doctors made their prognosis based on a feel of the pulse and immediately prescribe expensive tests before beginning treatment. Those outside of structured medical facilities still depend on the village doctors; the kobirej for treatment and who is to argue that is inefficient. Science should supplement rather than compliment the old ways though there are arguments in favour of predicting disease through tests. Everyone knows that tests are now a way of life for physicians that work full time in hospitals. It has everything to do with the commercialisation of medicine. It’s also widely believed that medicines pushed by the pharmaceutical representatives and tests suggested at specific laboratories and clinics have a pecuniary benefit for physicians. And while there are those who simply prescribe tests without specific referral, their numbers are dwindling. The issue is the quality of the clinics referred to and the chemicals used for tests. Sudden raids have revealed that technicians and chemicals utilised are both inadequate and yet prognosis is dependent on the very same. On the other hand the more reputable institutions charge a hand and a foot for tests that should be much much cheaper.
Dependence on government hospitals are increasing in doubt due to the pilferage and adulteration of chemicals or tests run in outdated or unserviced equipment. And it leaves the bulk of the population living outside the metro cities with little recourse to any other option. That’s one major reason why people line up for visas for India and those that can afford it to South East Asian countries for treatment. The outflow of foreign currency hasn’t quite been calculated but the numbers are significant to say the least.
To the best of knowledge there are no regular checks in clinics and hospitals on their equipment partly due to an empowered organisation equipped with people with the required skill sets. Life support systems rank the highest in this matter. Hygiene is paramount in health, especially where delicately calibrated machines are involved but few if any, hospitals and clinics display the last date of inspection of the same somewhat like fire extinguishers and army vehicles. The stories of neglect are usually gory and till confidence is restored it is difficult to predict when medical treatment aboard will reduce. The constant rush of our VVIPs to Singapore, London and Bangkok is acceptable where advanced science is concerned but the way things are going it seems the slightest sniff results in boarding a flight.Back in the villages the Upazilla Health complexes were set up at great cost to provide health at the door step. That doesn’t work because nine out of ten physicians are away on some pretext or the other. The Prime Minister has already warned those physicians be made redundant but not too much has been heard about it.
The author is a columnist,communications specialist