I don’t know what the government wants to achieve by building such primary health centers and by compelling us new doctors to work there as bonded medical officers… do they want us to forget our medical knowledge, ethics, and to learn to manipulate the situation, to exploit the lack of knowledge of others? What’s the role of a phc? Aren’t we there to take care of their health? Or are we there just to satisfy illiterate whims of the village people? Isn’t health education mandatory or at least necessary? Why the useless, old age, antique drugs still exist in phcs? What the doctor is supposed to do if nearly all of her patients refuse to follow health advices and keep on demanding ‘magic drugs’ that would cure everything within time period of minutes or even seconds?
How nice it would have been if I were ignorant, not a doctor, or even illiterate… I would be able to live. Drunkards (mostly village politicians) come here, fully laden with alcohol, and say to me that, “alcohol causes dehydration. I’ve consumed two bottles of it in morning. You must administer intravenous saline to me.” When I tell the ailing to open their mouths to examine oral heath, I encounter tobacco, pan masala or paan blocking my sight to their pharynxes. Even kids have these things, leave apart male and female adults. Even if I give strict warning about avoiding cold foods and drinks kids go for infective ice candies on street as soon as they get out of the hospital after taking treatment, that too in front of me and then blame me for giving them ineffective tablets. People laugh at me when I tell something like, “smoking would deteriorate your lungs.” And get disappointed and even curse me when I don’t examine their arthritic knee or shoulder with stethoscope.
Is it advisable to administer IV drugs like metoclopramide and dexamethasone to everyone, even when they don’t need it? People are addicted to a ‘saline’ (a formula having a bit of many drugs in NS) and they want me to administer that ‘saline’. One of their superstitions is that tablets and capsules are useless and to get ‘cured’ and to gain some strength you need a saline and some injections, the only injectable available here is chlorpheniramine maleate. Doing private practice in government hospitals is a common trend; people hate me when I refuse doing that. I have no words to describe the corruption in this field, maybe I lack strength, or maybe my brain freezes when this topic comes into my mind. The only one person I can keep away from this dirty business is me, and I do it successfully… but still… it’s very very hard to handle everything, and still be able to think.
I feel like an alien, an outsider. It’s very hard to blend in this business… also it’s very hard to convince them about the small acts of taking care of their health… I keep on trying… but I’m not some deity, I’m a human. And I get frustration too. To the world I’m a successful person, a medical officer, with a staff of ten working under my command… but to me, I’m as helpless and depressed as I was never before. I even can’t call for help, because I don’t see anyone… In fact it’s so dark here that I see nothing.
Maybe… one day I’ll be able to think, to find some solution, or to seek some help to change the situation… till then the biggest challenge before me is to keep my dreams and my own innocence alive.