Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Healthcare - spend on prevention not cure

Where should we spend more money - on primary health care or advanced care? In my view, obviously the former!

Why not to spend more money on exclusive hospitals:

It is painful to read "More patient-friendly steps at PGI" after our personal experience of over a dozen years ago. A doctor in Goa had given an opinion that a biopsy  was suspicious. We were coming to Chandigarh anyway on a holiday, so decided to combine the medical concerns with the holiday. The result:
  • The worst vacation of my life
  • At least 2 visits to PGI every week
  • Each visit took at least half a day
  • Chaotic conditions and lack of empathy for patients was the norm
  • Net result - zilch
We decided to return to Goa and not extend our stay. After returning, we got an appoint in Manipal hospital.

Spent just a day. The doctors said that the original suspicion just doesn't make sense on the basis of the slide and were surprised that no doctor at PGI had told us that. Immediate treatment for infection with a follow up advised after 3 months, just as a precaution.

Why spend money on primary care:

A routine examination showed elevated levels of sugar. The fear of diabetes was enough to make me conscious of our diet.
  • In spite of being bombarded with ads, stopped eating even a little snack with evening tea
  • Sought out information about diet - e.g. Sugar the Bitter Truth and cut out items like sugary drinks(even in the summer heat) and even topped eating ketchup. The quantum of sugar in ketchup came as a shock.
  • Read food labels with greater care - e.g. the "healthier" looking Brown bread was nothing more than sugar added for caramelisation to the atta bread! A lousy marketing signal that worked till awareness dawned :(
Makes one wonder how to ensure that the economic growth does not result in the excessive growth of fast food industry and entertainment industry which pushes us to ill-health.

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