Lecture Cafés: Health care in India

The Lecture Cafés are a joint initiative of the Ghent University China platform, the India platform and the International Office of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering.

The lectures are held in English, in an interactive way open for discussion, and are open to anyone with an interest in academic research and/or collaboration within the region of China, India or Vietnam.

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type (discipline):

Lecture / Presentation / Debate (Social Sciences | Sciences | Psychology | Philosophy | Pharmaceutical Sciences | Medicine | Humanities | Health Sciences)

Tue, March 19th 2013

12:00 till 14:00 Health care in India read more

Speaker: Prof. Jan Gerris
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Uro-gynaecology

Traditional health care in India is based on Ayurveda and on Unani medicine. Modern medicine was introduced around independence and has taken over, although traditional medicine remains popular. The health care sector in India is in crisis: the public health system in India is underfinanced and suffers from all the ills of public service: poor quality, shortages, waiting times. Private medicine is often of a high or sometimes of exceptional standard but is run as a business for a growing middle class. Medical tourism is booming quickly, attracting foreigners from over the world with an alleged combination of high quality specialized care (neurology, cardiology, nephrology, reproductive medicine, etc. ) and touristic or wellness attractions.

Huge crowds remain in want of primary care. The street still shows the vulnerable underbelly of India’s lower socio-economic groups, struggling with such issues as shortage of clean drinking water, poor immunization coverage, food shortage, endemic diseases e.g. tuberculosis, malaria, anemia, women’s health issues ( maternal mortality and morbidity, infanticide and feticide, lack of contraception etc. ). There is a wide gap between urban medicine and rural medicine. The health system is in crisis because no solution has yet been found to compromise top quality care for the rich and affordable primary care for the poor. There is no generalized insurance. The Indian government is working hard to improve on things and it is a lucky thing that population growth is paralleled by economic growth, although suffering from social injustice.

This crisis also has an upside: it provides opportunities for (re)building infrastructure, produce and distribute large quantities of pharmaceuticals and medical instruments, the development of tele-medicine applications, and organize wellconducted cost-effective clinical trials. Training of medical, nursing and
laboratory personnel is a huge challenge. Indians detest being given lectures by foreigners who often
do not understand the underpinnings of the very complex Indian society, but at the same time Indians are reaching out to cooperate on a level of fundamental equality with the rest of the world. The United States, Africa, the Muslim world and South-America tend to be preferred socio-economic partners. Europe seen through Indian eyes is utterly divided and does not exist as an entity to relate to. Therefore, any hand held out from India should be grabbed firmly by individual institutions (e.g. Ghent University) with a view to develop cooperation with a global ambition.

The world is flat. INDIA PLATFORM (IP), an initiative of Ghent university, has perfectly sensed and seen this challenge. It sees it as its mission to create and develop long-lasting cooperations with respect to research and clinical cooperation on a person-toperson basis rather than on a people-to-people basis in combination with an institution-toinstitution basis.

Medicine is but one branch of the action fields it encompasses. IP also embraces the formidable but visionary task to try to adapt our mutualistic system based on an all-population solidarity to age-old Indian fundaments of interpersonal support and mutual protection. The lecture will be given as a descriptive “tour de reconnaissance” as eyed by a long-time India lover, at the same time physician and manager of a large university based care system, driven by a motivation of global solidarity and a vision shared with IP of a
world mutuality.

More information
Website: www.vrouwenkliniek.be
Scientific references: see Scholar.google.be
E-mail: jan.gerris@uzgent.be


Koninkijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde
Koningstraat 18
9000 Gent


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