Passage: After the ―Liberal a new catchphrase is being coined: ‘A New Health Order’. Talking about setting it up is the theme of the WHOsponsored international conference on primary health and medical care, currently being held at Milan in Italy. While much has been said and written on establishing ―new order, little has actually been done. Will the conference at Milan too swear by the ―new health order, go home and then forget about it, while the present medical and healthcare set-up in poor countries further entrenches itself? This does not have to be the fate of the radical resolutions that will undoubtedly be passed at Milan. Unlike creating a new world economic or information order, establishing a new health set-up is essentially a matter for individual countries to accomplish. No conflict of international interests is involved. But this advantage is, at least until it begins to take concrete shape, only theoretical. The million- dollar question is whether individual third- world governments are able and willing to muster the will, the resources, the administrative and other infrastructure to carry out what it is entirely within their power to attain and implement. The dimensions of the problem are known and the solutions broadly agreed on. The present medical and health-care system is urban- base, closely geared to drugs, hospitals and expensively trained apathetic doctors. The bulk of the population in poor countries, who live in rural areas, are left untouched by all this and must rely on traditional healers.
The answer is to turn out medical/health personnel sufficiently, but not expensively, trained to handle routine complaints and to get villagers to pay adequate attention to cleanliness, hygienic sanitation, garbage disposal and other elementary but crucial matters. More complicated ailments can be referred to properly equipped centres in district towns, cities and metropolises. Traditional healers, whom villagers trust, can be among these intermediate personnel.
Some third-world countries, including India, have launched or are preparing elaborate schemes of this nature. But the experience is not quite happy. There is resistance from the medical establishment which sees them as little more than licensed quackery but is to prepared either to offer condensed medical courses such as the former licentiate course available in this country and unwisely scrapped. There is the question of how much importance to give to indigenous system of medicine. And there is the difficult matter of striking the right balance between preventive healthcare and curative medical attention.
These are complex issues and the Milan conference would perhaps be more fruitful if it were to discuss such specific subjects.
Q. For a new health order, the author recommends all of the following EXCEPT