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India Needs A Renaissance In The Field Of Medicine
Today, at least half of the world’s population still do not have full coverage of essential health services. Over 80 crore people (almost 12 percent of the world’s population) spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets to pay for health care. India has a long way to go
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World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7th April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization, as well as other related organisations. This year the theme is: Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.
UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. It includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.
Today, at least half of the world’s population still do not have full coverage of essential health services. Over 80 crore people (almost 12 percent of the world’s population) spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets to pay for health care. India has a long way to go.
To mark this day, Darryl D'Souza, a Pioneer in Integrative Mind, Body & Spirit Medicine shared his views on health, healthcare and his recommendations for a healthier life with BW Businessworld.
What is health according to you, keeping in mind the mind body soul connect?
Much earlier, life was integrated because society was integrated thanks to ancient cultural time-tested practices. Modern ideas have caused a separation where different groups of people choose to excel in specific areas of their preference like the physical dimension that gives a lot of importance to the body and its looks, or the mind and its endeavor of smartness and intellectualism or the spirit and its other worldly aspirations of moksha, bliss, and enlightenment. This has resulted in an unbalanced development of the individual. It has also caused the subscribers of each of these philosophies to glorify their area of excellence and put down the other areas with derogatory labels such as materialistic, egoistic and lightheadedness.
The way of making people holistic and healthy is to design our homes, education systems, workspaces, social events and our arts & cultural events with energies that have a balance of body, mind & spirit. There are very few individuals and institutions across the globe who are doing such work and this needs to go mainstream for all in society to benefit. My work in integrative mind, body & spirit medicine since 2005 is one such endeavor that has connected doctors, healers, therapists, counselors, healthcare providers and the common man. They all speak a common language now and have a very balanced, cohesive and supportive outlook towards healing the human body of sickness. Now I am part of a global organisation whose mission is integrative human development and we are indeed fortunate that it is founded in India.
A high-quality human being is a self-empowered being who has the skills to handle the hurdles of modern life. It is a being free from illness, free from negative attitudes, and one who creates value wherever they go. They become an asset to their families, their societies, and their nation. A high-quality human being is a being who brings optimism and cheer along with them, and while doing this, they do not cause any damage to others or to the environment. This was the essence of my speech at the 1st World Parliament on Spirituality in 2012.
What are your views on access to universal access to quality healthcare in India today?
In India, people in metro cities believe that they have access to ‘quality healthcare’ and they measure the quality by looking at how highly placed and priced a doctor is, how clean and ordered a hospital is, how long a medical prescription is, and how long the list of recommended diagnostics are. Costly is equated with quality.
Are individuals or healthcare institutions keeping an emphasis on how fast recovery from sickness actually is? And has that recovery been achieved in one area of the body by compromising another? Why is surgical removal of an organ seen as something lofty as compared to a natural cure that takes longer, but does not deprive a human being of a part of their body? In a country like India that has such ancient health traditions like ayurveda, yoga, and acupressure, why has reactive healthcare dominated preventive healthcare?
India needs a renaissance in the field of medicine and I know it will be possible thanks to the ongoing endeavors and passion of thousands of healers, therapists, naturopaths, yoga acharyas, counselors and advocates of holistic medicine in the country. India can show the way to the world once again in the field of medicine, if our institutional heads and heads of government take a holistic and inclusive approach to the subject.
What are your recommendations for better access of healthcare?
Metro cities in India are already overcrowded with commercial and disintegrated medicine setups. The setting up of smaller integrative mind, body & spirit medicine centers is a simpler task and can be done all over the country. That is how people will have regular and local access to healthcare.
In 2016, I sent an official proposal to Goa Tourism Development Corporation of promoting Goa as a tourist destination for wellness. It was innovative enough to generate income for the local people through space rentals, employment for local youth, natural landscaping of the premises to facilitate healing, organic food production and consumption, cleaning up of the air, water and garbage, and it proposed of local parks for exercise, recreation, and sport. Unfortunately, GTDC has not yet acted upon it, but such similar win-win models can be implemented everywhere in India.
Acquiring integrative mind, body & spirit medicine skills is not a herculean task at all. It was what I did in 2003-05 to save my own life, after the best of modern medicine could not help me over 14 years of progressive sickness.
What are your recommendations for better health?
Have a healthy diet.
Get at least 1/2 hr of direct sunlight every day.
Walk or stand on bare earth for half an hour a day.
Have 1 hour of physical activity every day.
Beat stress through meditation, by spending time with nature, being with children, watching fun movies and expressing yourself through art and culture. Be a social person and interact with people in fields of your interest.