|Year : 1954 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 53-55
Victor C Rambo
Mungeli, Dt. Billaspur, M.P, India
Victor C Rambo
Mungeli, Dt. Billaspur, M.P
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Rambo VC. Correspondence. Indian J Ophthalmol 1954;2:53-5
Journal of the All-India Ophthalmological Society.
The growth of quackery and charlatinism in the village has been increasing at a tremendous pace-first to embarrass and now to greatly endanger the efforts of over half a century of our village medical institutional work.
Our thoughts as missionary doctors have been to give the villages as good modern medical care as it is possible to give. We have tried to give this service in the spirit of Christ, with our full heart's effort. Laboratories have been provided and technicians trained. X-rays and other diagnostic equipment have been provided. Radium has been given by interested friends and treatment of cancer undertaken for any scores of sufferers. Special training has been given to doctors to use this equipment. Both Indian and foreign training for our staff, doctors, nurses has been in God's will. These trainees have returned to the villages and served. All that has been built, buildings and equipment and staff, to give a capable kindly service to the sick under capable Indian administrators and trainees. Altogether an institution has been envisaged which is given to India's villages and so based on Indian soil that it will be supported and grow strongly without any outside help. Such an institution should be able to earn by efficient modern service the support of people who can pay not only for their own medicine but some extra for the poor so that all may be served. This institutional structure is now in danger.
In our village of 6000 population there are forty quack doctors. Each road leading into the hospital and town has her quota of quack doctors ready with sulfa drugs, penicillin and arsenicals for injection. As the sick come or are brought to the hospital soft voiced quacks or their accomplices with professional manners go out to invite the ill into the "offices" of the quack's house and outhouses. Special rooms are provided for wards in some of the arrangements. A former house servant thrives in the profession. He has taken a fifteen day course in "ayurvedic" or "homeopathic" medicine and surgery at one of the cities here. He has been given a bogus diploma which entitled the recipient to practice, at least that is what the diploma suggests. The authority may be by some nonexistant American College. In one of these diploma mills running along unrestricted I am told a man pays Rs. 25/- for a single graduate's diploma and Rs. 35/- for a graduate "cum laude" diploma. The prices of some of the diplomas are higher.
A former waterman of the Government dispensary has a medical office in Mungeli and is the most thriving of all practitioners in our village. Well to do people put their own lives and the lives of their families into the hands of these quacks. Accidental deaths are covered up.
Several advantages are offered. Immediate diagnosis and treatment, no waiting for laboratory work or X-rays and no cost of such refinements. All is supposedly for the treatment, as is the case of the spectacles seller, all is included in the cost of glasses.
When the patient is stripped of his funds he is handed on to the hospital which has been ready all the time to help him but now faces the burden of doing the job which costs a good deal more without any recompense financially. Now forty quack "practitioners" take the funds that used to come to the support of a financially stable service. Those poor who come who could pay nothing were cared for by the payments of the better to do. The quacks, the ex-sawyers, expolicemen, ex-teachers, ex-compounders and ex-trustees, ex-any one now drain off the financial strength of the institution. The quacks carry patients along into greater seriousness and the "impossible" cases which do not improve by hit or miss methods are dumped home to die or into the accredited hospital for a much more serious and expensive fight for life and health.
Another thing, is the attitude of people and press of cheering on of a rich man who gives a gift of a healing institution which includes free treatment for the rich as well. Human frailty is so constituted that most of the village well-to-do will go off to a "free" dispensary and hospital with his very life or limb when he can very well afford a like treatment or better by paying, a private practitioner or by entering a voluntary hospital and paying his way. We have had severe losses from an arrangement which our well-to-do village patients go to and get free treatment for all ocular conditions. Private practitioners must live. It is not fair for any free treatment to endanger the voluntary medical services of the community. The rich man gains true merit when he cares for the poor. He gains doubtful merit when he serves the rich freely or almost freely. We have always felt that there must be a charge so as not to pauperize the rich nor the poor but to give both the treatment that is needed, with payment made, so that there may not be hardship to either. This can not always be achieved. The rich can need treatments that cost too much like cortisone when it was introduced and even now. The poor can run out of funds and have to have not only treatment but also food given to them absolutely free. If the rich pay, the poor can largely be taken care of. Expenses of examination and treatment must be given when patient is ill and charity given when they are in need of prevention of diseases.
Voluntary hospitals like ours are very severely hit when streams of people who can pay are deflected by free treatment into a charity which includes free or almost free treatment for people who should not for their very sakes be pauperized.
I trust it makes myself clear. The voluntary hospital building modern medicine for the villagers should be protected by the state against charlatinism. It should also be protected from the unwise financial policies of free or practically free medical and surgical treatment for the well-to-do.
Now one more matter. We cannot get trained licentiates these , days. Licentiates built our village work, a cheaper creditable training for men and women who were more willing to go into a village situation, with salaries and housing the missionary institutions were able to pay and serve faithfully the village, sick and work for better health in the villages.
Now this is changed. We should at once start training Licentiates. Miraj Christian Medical School is at once ready to start giving India fifty doctors a year.
Men and women of ability will offer themselves for such training and service. Daily, young people not able to get M.B.B.S. admission, and fearing, as they should, the spurious 22 year training for village doctors apply to Miraj Medical School for admission.
Let those in Miraj go on again to train good doctors. Let M.B.B.S. training go on strongly too. All health to medical colleges. But let us have Licentiates back. More quackery is the alternative for a suffering people.