Monday, August 10, 2009

Killer Flu

All right, this topic is so much ubiquitous nowadays that I simply had to write about it. And as usual, the reference will be towards India.

As of now (when I am typing this), already 6 people have become victims of this deadly disease in India, Swine Flu. As most of you must be aware, it is caused by the H1N1 virus, and there is no complete cure of it, as of now, though scientists are on their way in developing a successful vaccine for it. Already around 800 recorded victims in India, the number stealthily rises every day, almost like an exponential graph, ever increasing.

Globally, over a lakh people have been infected, and thousands have died as a result. In fact, the WHO estimates that within the next 2 years, the number of infected people can climb to over 2 Billion. That’s around one-third of the total World Population. Swine Flu has already become a Global Pandemic, and unless adequate steps are taken to control and curb it, the results can be very disastrous indeed.

The only known drug for Swine Flu, is Oseltamivir, or in short Tamiflu, as it is more popularly known. It is effective, only when it is supplied in the early stages. In Later stages, it becomes useless.

Currently, Swine Flu is spreading like wildfire, even in India. And the attitude of the Government towards it, is shocking, not to say the least. The health minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, recently remarked, that the number of cases, is very small , when compared to the total population of India. So that is why we should not panic. So what he means to say, is that we should calmly sit back and watch while the total number of cases, crosses the million mark, and then blatantly state that the situation has become out of Government’s control, as it’s simply impossible to cure so many people, and prevent further penetration of Swine Flu. This situation could become a fact, if no adequate measures are taken NOW.

The situation is not very different, over 2 decades ago, when AIDS was exposed to India. Naturally, it spread like havoc, while in the meantime, both the Government and the people, remained totally nescient about it. In fact, the lackadaisical attitude of the Government towards AIDS, was quite appalling. It made almost no attempt to prevent the spreading of the disease, or to educate the general mass, about the causes of it. Within a few years, millions of people had become infected with AIDS. And with no actual cure, millions began to die as well. Still, the Government promptly kept on sleeping, and till date, it has hardly done anything effective or worthwhile in stopping AIDS. The situation will probably be similar for Swine Flu as well.

Why is the Health Sector neglected so badly in India? The Government Hospitals are awfully managed, and the less said about them, the better. The private ones may not be as shabby, but charge an exorbitant sum, usually way beyond the reach of most people. The Government allocates just around 5 percent of the total GDP for Health. Whereas in USA, it is closer to 16 percent. It’s no wonder, that so many people are suffering from ill health, yet have nowhere to go for their treatment. There are very few good doctors in India, and the cost for procuring a medical degree is sky rocketing.

In fact, I have seen that there are so many aspiring medical students, who simply do not get a chance to pursue medicine, due to dearth of seats. These students usually get into Engineering, and waste their careers. Instead of having so many people competing for a handful of seats(AIIMS, Delhi has around 70 seats), we should demand for more medical seats.

The Government needs to wake up, and wake up NOW, before its too late. We certainly should not panic about Swine Flu, but that does not mean that we should just sit back, and do nothing. Follow the instructions, given by the Government about staying 6 feet away from the victim, donning protection masks, etc. Make sure to wash your hands properly. Spread awareness amongst others, especially the poor. Remember, every single thing you do, will have a repercussion. Its up to you to see that’s a good one.

Combat Swine Flu. Stay Healthy.

See ya guys… thanks for reading.


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