EMPHASIS SHOULD be laid by doctors on how to approach, identify and get simple solutions for various afflictions ailing the society, opined Dr Laxman Rao from Hyderabad.
He was presiding over the inauguration of a two-day high-level workshop for Mahatma Gandhi Medical College (MGM) pre-final year students on Problem Solving for Better Health (PSBH) sponsored by Dreyfus Foundation, New York, and Health Action By People (HAP), Trivandrum, at the Department of Community Medicine today.
Dr Rao said that health for all was a concept universally accepted, but not realised yet by any nation. A common requisite for improving the health of the people was greater participation by people. A lot more can be achieved through innovative and collective approaches than by individual or government/NGO/agency.
Inculcating public health awareness, advocacy, research, education and innovative action programmes in would-be doctors, the programme was first tried out in West China Medical University in 1989 and since then has been ushering in a silent revolution in many parts of the world. The foundation started the programme with its Indian partner HAP on an experimental basis in 1993 and now operates in 49 medical colleges across the country.
The programme draws strength from its association with faculty and students of these institutions. Many people think that health problems can be solved only through massive national and international efforts, while most health problems are well within the reach of the common people where an individual can make a difference and often the solutions are simple yet ingenious.
Chief coordinator and model officer for PSBH in the State, Dr Sanjay Dixit, said that MGM was the first college in the State to get associated with PSBH in the year 2000 and the example was followed by NSCB Medical College (Jabalpur) and Gajra Raje Medical College (Gwalior) in 2001, Gandhi Medical College (Bhopal) in 2002 and RD Gardi Medical College (Ujjain) in 2004.
The students with the help of facilitators/faculties will identify health problems prevalent in society, write and select a protocol and prepare a proposal for performing a short-term research study, which they will accomplish within five months.
The students will receive 20 out of 40 marks earmarked for internal practical on the basis of their project report. Top five reports are sent to HAP and in a unique model the undergraduate students get to attend a national scientific presentation held every year in Trivandrum. Selected findings from this conference are sent to World Health Organisation (WHO) and if picked up get an international platform, while also getting a place in policy decisions of global governments.
Demonstrator Dr Gargi Ghosh who is the student coordinator for this workshop said that MGM was the most regular in holding these workshops, which provides students with a chance of active participation in community health problem solving and, apart from learning, helps boost their creativity.
The students lay importance on the physical, mental and social aspects while choosing the subject of their study.
Facilitator Dr Salil Sakale said that a major lacuna in health information system is the dearth of reliable evidence gathered with scientific vigour. The PSBH process trains young medical students to acquire these missing perspectives by developing new and innovative approaches.
Dr P C Mahajan, Dr Yogesh Jain and Dr Neera Marathe from Gwalior, and Dr S K Dhruv from Jabalpur will be participating in this workshop by chairing technical sessions. Acting Dean Dr Premlata Parikh inaugurated the workshop and Dean and Director Medical Education (DME) would be the chief guest at the plenary and selected protocol session at the end of the workshop tomorrow.