Wednesday, January 19, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Emerging health care crisis in Punjab

IN the new millennium Punjab will have to cope up with a plethora of new and old health problems. It will have to face the resurgence of not only tuberculosis but also drug-resistant TB, a big load of HIV-positive cases and the resultant full-blown AIDS cases, an increased number of cancer patients along with a burden of rising geriatic population requiring specialised care, a rise in heart-related problems and a large number of road-side accident cases requiring advanced surgical treatment.

Whereas Punjab can draw comfort from the fact that poliomyelitis has been virtually wiped out from the state and there has been a dramatic fall in the number of measles and tetanus cases, it is still dogged by a high and static infant mortality rate and limited success in population control.

  The availability and distribution of essential drugs, including anti-TB drugs, continue to be a cause for concern for health experts. These drugs should be available in plenty round the year if the state wants to control the epidemic of TB. There are no arrangements for providing counselling services to HIV-positive and sexually transmitted diseases cases and their families. In fact, very little facilities and drugs are available for treating full-blown AIDS cases facing inevitable death. The facilities for treating cancer patients exist only in three medical colleges run by the government. The state has so far drawn no plans for managing the health of geriatic population which is rising steadily with an increase in life expectancy.

The efforts made by the state government to brush up secondary health care arrangements through the Punjab Health Systems Corporation have not been fully rewarded due to a number of factors. It has not been able to set the highest standards of professional management and accountability which are expected of a project run with international aid. The lack of management skills and commitment on the part of middle-level health managers has contributed to the limited success of the corporation.

The state also faces an acute shortage of trained paramedical personnel, especially counsellors, rehabilitation service providers like physiotherapists, speech therapists and laboratory technologists. Due to the absence of a standardised curriculum and training guidelines, the level of training of these workers is variable.

The appointment of a medical professional as the new Health Minister of Punjab is a welcome step. One can hope the current policies will be examined afresh from a professional angle.

State Coordinator,
Punjab Service Doctors Organisation

Millennium madness!

I am playing with the office piano just to share my views with the readers regarding how top advertisers are misusing the word “millennium” to a great extent. Whether it is a soft drink group or an undergarment manufacturing company, all of them are after the word “millennium” to sell their products like hot cakes in the market.

With the consumer becoming extravagance-friendly with each passing day, the advertisers find new ways to sell the products in the market. It is not only the multinationals and the companies manufacturing goods in India which are there to use all means to sell their products in the market but also those involved in hotel business.

It is very surprising to know that in many of the hotels in the tourist cities of India, the room rent for the “millennium” night’s stay will be more that Rs 50,000.

But what is so special about it? Should we ask the persons who are going to spend this amount or do we visit people who earn less than this amount in the whole year?

Another thing that surprises me is the various offers given by the companies to sell their products. Cars with underwears, ACs with atta, gold with toffees, and what not! To what extent are these schemes genuine? Are all these schemes approved by the government? Or the manufacturers just make fools of the customers?

S.A.S. Nagar

Population problem

The country is passing through a very critical phase. Its population is on the increase continuously and the jobs are shrinking. Unemployment is increasing in proportion to the rise in population as the jobs are not being generated accordingly. The time is not very far when the state of affairs will lead to a chaos or a bloody revolution.

We all put the blame on the government, and find solace that we have squarely put the blame on someone. No doubt, the government is to blame, as no concrete measures are being adopted to meet this challenge. But at the same time we all citizens are also to be blamed that we do not take any interest in educating the people in this regard.

Teachers, employees in the rural areas and those coming in touch with the less privileged people should take interest in educating the ordinary people. This problem cannot be contained by the government’s efforts alone. We all will have to work together and accept it as our social responsibility.




Shankar Dayal Sharma

Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, former President of the Indian Union, was a brilliant and talented national leader and in his death the country has been deprived of a statesman of a very high calibre. High regard for moral values, secularism, tolerance, fairmindedness, etc, was the distinguishing quality in his personality. He had made tremendous sacrifice in the freedom struggle and had rendered very significant service to the national cause.

He served the country in various capacities — the Chief Minister of Bhopal, when it was a separate state till the reorganisation of states, the Union Minister for Communications, Governor of Andhra, the Vice-President of India, and finally the President of India.

He was also the President of the Indian National Congress, the oldest national political organisation of the country. He was an embodiment of national composite culture. He was a great crusader for communal harmony and national unity. Such illustrious sons are born rarely. His contribution and services to the national cause can never be forgotten.

New Delhi

Holidays galore

We as citizens of Punjab feel deeply concerned about the manner in which holidays are being declared by the state government. Efficient governance demands of our political masters to imbibe work culture among the staff.

It is time we took a united stand on the number of holidays the government servants can enjoy at the tax-payers’ mercy. We must follow the example of developed countries as far as holidays and work culture are concerned.



Do you know the main pastime of our rulers?

Answer: Commission “baithana” (appointing) and commission “khaana” (eating)!


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