|HEALTH TRIBUNE||Wednesday, February 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India|
Pain not an
& TOTAL HEALTH
proudly perched on health map
"Health for all by 2000AD", hopefully resolved by the World Health Organisation at Alma Ata in 1978, still remains a distant dream at least for us in India, even though we were a prominent signatory to that historic resolution.
Is it due to the lack of political will? Lackadaisical low priority for health and also education? The lack of bureaucratic and technocratic implementation of healthcare plans? The lack of public awareness and apathy for health? The lack of adequate budget allocation? And, above all, the lack of self-help for health?
These points are not true in the case of Perchh village at the foothills of the Shivalik in Ropar district of Punjab! The sarpanch, the panchayat and the entire village are a vibrant, well-knit community, who are an example of self-help, which deserves glorification for others to follow.
More than two years ago, the village was afflicted with floods. The Tribune, always first with the news about the plight of the people, reported this event, which others perhaps, did not observe.
We went to the village to render medical aid to whatever extent we could. There were cases of gastroenteritis, respiratory infections of all types, helminthic infestations, dermatological ailments and dental, eye and ENT problems galore.
We were struck by the fortitude, forbearance and dynamism of the entire village — men, women and children all doing their bit without a groan or a grumble, to fight the floods.
We offered to set up a primary health centre if the panchayat could give us a workable four-room accommodation. They gave us a searching look and, convinced of our sincerity, volunteered to build a four-room health care centre on the panchayat wasteland.
Every household contributed to the cause. The kar sewaks, the tractor-drivers, the rural architects and masons, all toiled together. They raised a four-room structure within six months, in spite of the heavy monsoon. And, rightly, they challenged us to set up the promised health centre.
On September 3, 2001, we started with a dispensary service. This small event was so well highlighted by The Tribune that several doctors, social workers and philanthropists came forward, as if in the reverse gear, from the city to the village.
Ladies first! First to come forward was Prof Harpreet Kaur Bhullar, who showed the way with no mean a purse of Rs 1.5 lakh, a fridge and a couple of cupboards as well.
One day, two unassuming persons came there. They were Sardar Gurdial Singh, with a flowing, graceful, grey beard, the founder of a trust, and Sardar Baljit Singh, the president of the trust. They had named the trust after the greatest holy child martyr of the world for human rights and liberty. The Sahibzada Ajit Singh Charitable Trust.
Offering the latest model of an ECGmachine, a computerised lab system and a 30 mA x-ray machine, all amounting to several lakhs of rupees, they enhanced the scope of this health centre!
A few days later came yet another apostle of selfless service, Sardar Manjit Singh, with a bulging purse of Rs 1.5 lakhs and monthly subsidy of Rs 5000 for medicines, holding a clip of The Tribune.
We have now established not a mere rural health centre but The Sahibzada Ajit Singh Sahib Free Polyclinic, rendering free dispensary, lab, x-ray, ECG services with half a dozen senior specialists in various disciplines, giving free consultations in rotation.
The Sahibzada Ajit Singh Sahib Free Polyclinic is an oasis of healthcare in the desert of disease. Besides Perchh, it will also serve many neighbouring villages at Shivalik foothills, namely, Chota Perchh, Seonk, Chhoti Seonk, Majri, Jaiwanti, Garha, Kasauli, Karondia, Bhagindi, Sangariwala and Nada.
There are six lakh villages in India. But only Perchh can boast of a set-up like The Sahibzada Ajit Singh Sahib Free Polyclinic. And only Perchh has a Panchayat and its Sarpanch Sardar Bhag Singh, all men of few words but a lot of action.
There are newspapers and newspapers. The media has a role to play. But The Tribune is always there for the people.
And the greatest of all encouragements for the hardy villagers, the philanthropists, the doctors and the social workers is that very considerately His Excellency Lt Gen (Retd) JFRJacob, PVSM, the Governor of Punjab, known for his concern for villages and slums, has consented to grace and inaugurate this polyclinic on March 10, 2002. A million thanks to The Tribune and General Jacob.
The Sahibzada Ajit Singh Sahib Free
Polyclinic at Perchh is the 16th Health Care Centre in a row being
operated by Dr (Brig) M.L. Kataria and his dedicated team, day in and
day out, for all the seven days of the week.
Pain is the most dreaded of all sensations. Right from a child to old people, everyone likes to avoid it if possible. Essentially, pain is a protective phenomenon, shielding living beings from harm by making them aware of a possible danger so that timely protective action can be taken. In a rare disease in which a person does not have any pain sensation, the poor patient keeps on hurting his body without becoming aware of it. On the other hand, ask any patient about to undergo a surgical procedure about his worst apprehension, and the answer is universally the same — concern about impending pain!
The aim of writing this article is to make the people aware of the progress medical science has made and to change their mindset from the inevitability of pain after injury, surgery or cancer. In our country, pain is, at times, taken as a curse of gods for the sins committed in earlier lives and to some others suffering from pain is a kind of heroism. But most commonly, it is simply ignorance about the available facilities that comes in the way of pain relief. Only a few days ago, The Tribune carried a photograph of Mr P.S. Badal, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, writhing in pain as he was trying to walk after he sustained an injury to his hip and got operated upon, although he could well afford good pain relief if he were aware of its possibility. Therefore, I feel it is necessary to bring to the knowledge of every citizen that pain is not a necessary evil and they must request their doctors to provide them with good and sustained relief from it.
Over the past few decades, great strides have been made in the field of pain management, including operative pain, post-operative pain and chronic pain of various origins. A stage has been reached where it is not only possible to provide complete relief from pain to a patient at all stages of surgery (operative pain and post-operative pain); it is also being successfully practised at some medical institutions, including the Command Hospital (Western Command), Chandimandir. Patients, be they children, adults or old men and women, come to the operation theatre for surgery with some apprehension. However, when they are leaving the operation theatre, all the worries are gone and these are replaced by a smile on their faces. This is a scene to be seen to be believed!
Broadly speaking, pain is classified into two groups: acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain is the pain suffered immediately on sustaining injury or during surgical operations. Chronic pain is the variety of long lingering pain (usually beyond four weeks); and in many a case, there may not be a clearly defined injury to cause this pain, for example trigeminal neuralgia (pain on one side of the face on the minimal touch or even a wisp of the breeze) or "phantom limb pain"(pain which appears to be generated in a limb which had been amputated long ago). The common point about these two groups is that they cause a lot of misery to the patients and they are amenable to treatment, although the management of chronic pain requires more time and effort. Fortunately, the number of cases of Acute Pain far exceeds the number of patients suffering from chronic pain.
Acute pain management: There are a number of methods to manage acute pain. All of us have taken the ubiquitous Anacin or Saridon for a headache or a body-ache. These and many other medicines form a group which, in medical parlance, are called Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS). These are non-habit forming and good for mild to moderate pains. For more severe varieties of pain, such as following injuries and surgery, a more potent group of medicines, called narcotic analgesics is used.
(To be concluded)
Nature’s own diuretic
Shariram punarnavam karoti — it is that substance which rejuvenates the body! Punarnava has been described thus in Ayurveda. known as bishkhapra in Hindi and Boerhavia diffusa scientifically, punarnava is a much-branched creeping herb which grows wild on wasteland and by the roadside in most parts of India. Ancient texts describe it as of two types, white and red, and both of these have more or less identical medicinal value.
Punarnava is sweet, bitter and astringent in taste and light, dry and hot in effect. It balances vata, pitta and kapha — the three doshas. Well nourished during the rainy season, the punarnava plant dries up in winter. Though in the fresh form the whole of this plant is medicinal, it is its dried root which has specific curative value and is sold as medicine. Besides potassium nitrate and boerhavic acid, it also contains an alkaloid, punarvine.
Punarnava is famous for its diuretic and anti-inflammatory action on the human body. It is also an anthelminitic and cardiac stimulant.
It has anti-pyretic, laxative and expectorant properties too. It helps in blood formation and is considered a rasayana. If given in a large quantity, punarnava induces vomiting.
For the treatment of inflammatory renal disease and other clinical problems like the Nephrotic Syndrome, punarnava is considered the foremost herb. According to the studies published by the Central Council of Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, punarnava increases the urine output and has a salutary effect if it is used in cases of oedema and ascites resulting from early cirrhosis of the liver and chronic peritonitis. It is used effectively in many other diseases like jaundice, cardiac diseases, anaemia, low backache and joint pains.
Punarnava is a dependable home remedy for many ailments. Take 10 gm of semi-crushed and dry punarnava root and boil it in a glass of water. After filtering it, add a pinch of dry ginger powder to it. Take it once a day. It is an excellent home remedy for non-specific oedema of the body. While increasing the output of urine, it improves the functioning of the metabolism. Rural folk commonly give its five to 10 ml fresh juice to patients of viral hepatitis. For this purpose, the whole plant can be cut into pieces and eaten raw with a food items.
In oedema associated with heart disease and cirrhosis, administering a decoction of punarnava, sonth, chiraita and kutaki is a good adjunct. Punarnava is highly beneficial in the treatment of obesity as the majority of the herbal slimming formulations contain it. It is being used by many pharmaceutical companies to make herbal eye drops. Punarnavadi Mandoor is a very prestigious classic ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of anaemia, oedema and liver disorders. Similarly, Punarvadi Qwath shows good results if given to patients of metabolic disorders and abdominal diseases.
Punarnava is also an ingredient of the famous Rasna Saptak Qwath which is one of the first-step medicines in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
The spirit of joy
"Service which is rendered
helps neither the servant
nor the served.
But all other pleasures
pale into nothingness
before service which is rendered
in a spirit of joy.’’
— M.K. Gandhi
Believe in yourself
"If you think you
are beaten, you are.
If you think you
dare not, you don’t.
If you would like to win but
think you cannot,
it is almost cinch,
you would not.
If you think you would lose,
you have lost.
For in our world we find:
Success begins with a
fellow’s will. It is all
in a state of mind
Life’s battles, do not always
go to the stronger or the
But sooner or later, the man who
wins is the one tho thinks he can’’.
Investors in people
With reference to Mr Daljit Singh Gujral's article titled "Investors in People" published last week, a large number of readers have written to Health Tribune asking for a general view of the premia for managed healthcare. Here is a table provided by Mr Gujral, who is an experienced healthcare manager and the Director of INSCOL, a tertiary care hospital, in Chandigarh: The indicative premium charges are mentioned below:
The indicative premium charges are mentioned below: