The disease pattern in India is on the increase in all the sections of the society, viz. rich and poor, young and old, privileged and underprivileged, educated and uneducated, insured and uninsured, knowledgeable and ignorant.

Communicable diseases like diarrhea, vomiting, viral diseases like pneumonia and H1N1 types of fever, are all on the increase.

Disease itself is a challenge. Life style diseases like chronic non communicable diseases are alarmingly increasing as an epidemic.

India’s status in health is described as ‘Diabetic Capital’, viz. 50 million diabetes will become 100 million diabetics in the next five years.

Three million people die of heart attack and six million people will die of heart attack next year.

Bad life style, smoking and drinking contribute for the rising incidence of cancer.

These are all exciting times for medical care in India. There is an opportunity for young doctors as governments cannot cope up with disease burden.

The specialist doctors like cancer, neurology, nephrology, hematology and dermatology are all in great demand. The medical education system is struggling hard to improve the demand and supply gap. Naturally, Preventive Medicine requires to be boosted up, because it makes common sense and economic sense.

The Family Medicine, the good old concept, is not attractive to the young doctors.

Thanks to National Board of Examinations, under the Government of India, Department of Health, they have a postgraduate programme in Family Medicine. They undergo a 3-year programme to understand and gain the knowledge, skills and nuances of “general practice”. There are 200 seats in this speciality in 40 and odd hospitals across the country. This Family Medicine speciality needs to be encouraged by the public to these doctors to the effect that these doctors are available and accessible. They have a wholesome concept of health, early diagnosis, referral to the appropriate specialists to achieve optimum time.

The family need not spend lot of money and waste their time to seek specialists, as they are available at the drop of a hat.

These doctors are there like an expert infectious specialist, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, heart attacks, abdominal infection, uterine problems, skin problems, etc., etc.

Dr. M.R. Pai, the Dean of Manipal Hospital, Mangalore, was visiting KG Hospital & Post Graduate Medical Institute as an Inspector of the National Board of Examinations. He addressed group of doctors, motivated them to do an excellent job and bring the status of Family Medicine to a level higher than Cardiology.

(Dr. G. Bakthavathsalam)

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