Healthcare & Covid

Of CONCEPTS AND experience

Conceptual systems and the experience kit are must for decision-making, as this is the key to survival

It is natural for people to try to understand anything they are faced with. It can be a person, a situation or an experience. If we cannot respond to a situation in an organised fashion we tend to invent a framework for understanding or simply withdraw. Thus, it is important to recognise that concepts are necessary to understand a situation. Relationships between concepts constitute a conceptual system. In fact, information on a concept calls for a whole network of expectations on the fundamental elements of a situation. Meeting with a “nobody” on the streets cannot be equated to meeting an unknown person who is known to be socially powerful. Clearly, expectations are different in the two situations so the behaviour is modulated. The challenge most people have is that of never having learnt “how to think.” It never formed a part of their curriculum and not many people are able to achieve it on their own. Concepts often acquire a value and can evoke sensory images. One relates to them positively or negatively.

Without becoming esoteric, the pandemic is a perfect example. The number of […]

By |2021-02-16T10:46:46+00:00February 1st, 2021|Columns, Healthcare & Covid|Comments Off on Of CONCEPTS AND experience

A new medium of expression

When the pandemic struck the world, it took several months to realise how dramatically the nature of communication would change

The most common topics on which training programmes are held are leadership, communication, management of self and so on. In a programme on communication one of the essential topics is to explore the relationship between the message and the medium. One of the commonest statements is: “The message is the medium and the medium is the message.” Typically, if a notice board is a medium and the message conveys affection or is proposing a marriage, no one uses a notice board for such a communication. The softer messages are usually more appropriate to convey with a flourish or a card, note, in person and in today’s world on a personal chat. This would add a certain degree of gentility.

In the choice of the medium, too, there are at times flourishes that are used. Typically the use of calligraphy with a thick nib goes well with certain sentiments. There was a time in courts where after writing a death sentence, the judge would break the nib to underscore that he considered the task distasteful and did not want to write another such […]

By |2021-02-16T10:48:17+00:00January 18th, 2021|Columns, Healthcare & Covid|Comments Off on A new medium of expression

Of immunity, shots and rejuvenation

A rejuvenated era and civilisation would flourish where the old one existed. Hopefully, this would be one with greater splendor

The time when the Coronavirus pandemic assailed the world and brought it to its knees will be remembered because of many unique indicators. It was first and foremost a great equaliser as the virus did not discriminate between the privileged and underprivileged. It was also a time for testing boundaries and a vocabulary, which was quite specific to the experiences of the COVID times. It developed as the war with the virus drew on.

The Corona times have had some buzzwords like “social distancing”, “stay home, stay safe,” “mask up” and the community has lapped it up. Among them a major favourite is “immunity.” This word has found close cousins in the form of several edibles such as the Indian gooseberry, bell pepper, lemon, almonds, turmeric, ginger et al. The meaning of immunity as understood in the context of biological systems is a system endowed with the capacity to recognise and tolerate whatever belongs to the self and to recognise and reject what is foreign. It can be derived from antibodies from one’s own body, in which case it is active immunity. It […]

By |2021-02-27T16:30:35+00:00December 7th, 2020|Columns, Healthcare & Covid|Comments Off on Of immunity, shots and rejuvenation

Towards more robust healthcare

The curriculum of medical education seems to focus essentially on the institution of hospitals. The results are there for all to see

The public healthcare system in India is one of those topics on which most people have an opinion. It is often expressed with much energy and claimed insight. There are some favourite viewpoints. Almost all of them talk of primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. Usually, a discourse on these aspects is accompanied by half a tear on the state of affairs in the country. The truth is that notwithstanding the enthusiasm for allopathic healthcare, this country’s primary healthcare system is nourished and sustained by Indian systems of medicine. They are easily available, the diagnosis is simple and in a large number of cases the results are satisfactory. Traditional medicine systems do not burden the common man with endless medical tests like allopathy does, which in turn are often accompanied by protestations about the possible unreliability of the results. This is not only because of the nature of the tests but also due to the flaws in the process of testing. Often, the search for reliability means repeat tests. Interestingly, the pathology labs, as a source of livelihood, have very […]

By |2023-10-22T14:03:42+00:00November 9th, 2020|Columns, Healthcare & Covid|Comments Off on Towards more robust healthcare

Some hope in grim times

In these difficult days, there is reason to believe that the tribe of progressive social critiques is still heard

The Covid experience has been unique in more ways than what most of the webinars are talking about. For example, social media is not exactly known to elaborate concepts. However, the online versions of printed news media platforms appear to have widened and deepened their reach and impact as compared to the pre-Coronavirus era. The galloping use of smartphones in the country has enabled the reach and availability of news through a large part of the day, beyond the morning. At times, the impact is even clearer. Thankfully, the print media has not fallen prey to that claim that resonates through the electronic channel news daily: The phenomena called “breaking news.”

The concept of “breaking news” has undergone a sea change over the years and it doesn’t even titillate like before. “Breaking news” in years past used to be the equivalent of “Stop Press”, in the print media, when they used to stop the printing presses because something of phenomenal importance just had to be reported in the next day’s newspaper. For instance a war, or the declaration of Emergency, or demonetisation or the […]

By |2023-10-22T14:04:08+00:00October 12th, 2020|Columns, Healthcare & Covid|Comments Off on Some hope in grim times

Mixed feelings and hard reality

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. Each day brings forth its old cacophony of contradictory claims and overwhelming statistics.

The global pandemic has sired some new phrases and expressions. One of them is “the new normal is the ever-changing normal” and another is “progressive digitisation.” Between “the changing normal” and “progressive digitisation” is endemic anxiety over a situation totally out of our control. One doesn’t know where it began and frankly one doesn’t know where it could end. In the meanwhile, the act of governance of 130 billion people continues to spawn a large number of contradictions. It began with the slogan “jaan hai, toh jahan hai (health is wealth).” All shutters were closed  in a matter of hours and events were allowed to run their course. Many in the power circles claimed to be surprised at the mass exodus on foot the lockdown triggered. Teenage daughters and pre-teen sons were seen pedalling their fathers and mothers on bicycles and tricycle carts to destinations they thought of as home, hundreds of kilometres away. A child perched on a suitcase on wheels was seen being pulled by a mother on a 700 km-long journey home. The […]

By |2020-12-18T18:41:30+00:00September 28th, 2020|Columns, Healthcare & Covid|0 Comments

Managing Covid the Indian way

The desi variant of regulation has many unique characteristics, namely observing the format even if the content sounds silly.

The last six months have seen exponential growth in the use of internet-enabled platforms for communication purposes. More webinars have been, perhaps, held per week than were seminars held per month, in each of the preceding years, with any month being taken as an example. This is understandable because after the initial severity of the lockdown began wearing off and the overenthusiasm of regulations without back-ups created its own long-term damages, gradually a greater sense of realism became a part of the scene. Dealing with a pandemic where — at the best — mitigation was the only strategy (and inexorable personal disaster a real possibility), there was little option but to allow life to begin limping towards the so-called “new normal.” If in the process infection multiplied and unmanageable risks erupted, it was a price which could not be avoided.

The eateries started opening up and public transport was back on the wheels. Those who could not do without air travel went back to flying. The standards were more of a lip-service, than being implemented seriously. Reports had it that two twin airports, […]

By |2023-10-22T14:04:30+00:00September 14th, 2020|Columns, Healthcare & Covid|Comments Off on Managing Covid the Indian way

Be resilient in order to survive

The present times are unique in history because of the almost endless and all-pervading ambiguities the pandemic has generated

No matter how one adulates the ability to face ambiguity and no matter how this capability is seen as the fundamental characteristic of an innovative person, the truth is somewhat removed. Whereas dealing with uncertainty raises resilience, like in everything else, one could well say “thus far and no further.” Equivocacy ensconced in certain clear-cut parameters works. Ambiguity as a constant and dominant feature of life can be corrosive. The present times are unique in human history because of the almost endless and all-pervading ambiguities the pandemic has generated. One does not know where the virus originated from or the logic of its transmutation. One does not know much about its antidote or how it could strike. It is true that much poetry has been woven around the theme of subtle, calculated or not so calculated ambiguity. That kind of romanticised writing is conspicuous by its absence in the present case.

By a rough estimate, there are about 250 million children worldwide who do not have access to schools. For them, staying away from formal education was a no-choice situation. Of the children […]

By |2020-12-18T18:41:13+00:00August 31st, 2020|Columns, Healthcare & Covid|0 Comments

A search for some answers

One wonders if people are suffering more from being infected by Corona or from almost driving themselves over the edge by the fear of the virus

One is living almost cocooned in an equilateral triangle. One arm of the triangle is the terrifying Covid-19 situation, the second arm of the triangle is an economy in a tailspin, with little understanding of how deep the dive is going to be or how it can be brought under control. The third arm of the triangle is made of the travails and trials of an ordinary life. The Covid age — for want of a better phrase — that the world is currently passing through, is known to have just as much of an impact on the psyche and lifestyles of people as the Coronavirus has on the human body. How long can one survive in a bottomless pit of anxiety is a question to which there can be no definitive answers. Even history is silent on this very vital issue of human endurance.

One wonders if people are actually suffering more from being infected by the virus or from almost driving themselves over the edge by the fear of being infected by COVID-19. The governance […]

By |2020-12-18T18:31:17+00:00August 3rd, 2020|Columns, Healthcare & Covid|0 Comments

Many lessons to be learnt yet

If the crisis can create learning formulations for a more sober and thinking human being, then this period of agony would be a blessing for humanity

There is one widely accepted cause for an avoidable personal disaster. It is rooted in the simple belief that “it cannot happen to me.” The propensity of drivers to take undue risks on the road is also rooted in the same belief. There are enough studies on accidents and in traumatology which establish this fact.

It is a similar story where contagiously-transmitted disease is concerned and HIV/AIDS is a classic example of this. People believe that it will happen to someone else, somewhere else and not to them. They manage to convince themselves that a brief indulgence cannot lead to such disastrous consequences. But, as they discover to their peril later, this is not always the case and they have to pay a heavy price for negligence.

An obvious one next in the list is Covid-19. A quick visit to/from somebody one wanted to see surely can be undertaken without fear of infection. We do not want to be accused of overreacting so we would rather take our chances. Such things can happen, do happen and several […]

By |2020-12-18T18:27:27+00:00June 8th, 2020|Columns, Healthcare & Covid|0 Comments
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