Friday, October 08, 2004


We are all aware of the fact; that man has come a far way from the point of his origin. He has advanced in fields which were once not even imaginable. Yet, aside from the wonders which he has conquered, we cannot ignore the ever so growing “DARK SIDE” of this glimmer.
It is becoming harder to survive, day by day, in this constantly modifying society. Our homes have themselves become the site of hardships. From this, a wise man could only deduct, that despite the journey he has made, man has lost things more important than those he has won over the centuries,.
Surely, the true essence of our creation speaks of us to be the humble union of body and soul. However, we deny the fragility of the soul and compensate this loss with comfort to our greed and pleasure.
The medical profession is no doubt a divine responsibility bestowed upon a selected few of the inhabitants of our land. Tougher, here too, can we observe an imbalance between the relationship of the ill and the messiah. An error based on the perversion of concepts and misleading prospects. It is a well known fact, that to heal the body, it is best, that the soul must be at ease. And so, comes in the purpose of our project. “PHP”
Our goal is to light the fire of friendship between the patients, doctors and nurses, to create a better environment for bilateral satisfaction.

What is PHP?

PHP stands for “People Helping People”.
PHP is a project initiated for improving the standard of medical ethics in developing countries with special focus on the subcontinent.
PHP is a project envisaged by doctors themselves, for the patients they serve.
PHP is a dream emerging from within the medical fraternity.

What is the Modus Operandi of PHP?

Unfortunately, instead of those who are responsible, it is people from the private sector who have been doing all the reformation work in the medical world. We on the other hand, want to ensure, the accountability of those who are playing a key role in our community viz.doctors, nurses, patients etc.

PHP aims at giving patients hope to live by adopting a different approach – a more humane, people oriented approach in line with ideal medical ethics standards, keeping in mind the problems the doctors and nurses have to face while providing aid and health to others.

What is the objective of PHP?

PHP aims at:
§ Identifying and attacking the underlying root causes for the declining standards of medical ethics in the subcontinent
§ Identifying erroneous medical practices which have been in vogue for ages but which urgently require change
§ Creating a forum for bringing together the people who are actually responsible for reformation of the medical fraternity
§ Helping them become accountable by pointing out to them what the wrong practices are, instead of bringing them to task
§ Aiding them develop and implement a road-map to achieve this change

What are the bottlenecks to the success of PHP?

The primary impediment to the success of PHP, which is also the fundamental reason for the rapidly plummeting standards of medical ethics worldwide, is the multitude of troubles and problems which doctors and nurses face.

PHP can be sustainable and successful only if these issues are recognized and resolved before the medical fraternity is asked to change their attitude.

What are the problems faced by doctors and paramedical staff?

1. Low income: The first problem is INCOME. This is essential for them to properly fulfill their responsibilities and ensure their basic survival. Because of a multitude of factors, doctors and paramedical staff start earning properly only after they attain the age of 30 – 35. Until then, their pay is abysmally low. And even after that it is only the doctors, who earn properly, and not the nurses and the paramedics.
2. Hectic and stressful lifestyle: The next is their hectic schedule and lifestyle. As a second year medical student, we haven’t even started on our medical rounds, and yet it is almost impossible for us to complete our studies properly. And our social lives are already zero. No wonder our fellow students tell us to stop this project, which they feel is a “crazy waste of precious time”. It is no fault of theirs; our inhumanly difficult lifestyle often prohibits us doctors from having the time to pause, and think, and feel. But we as a fraternity MUST recognize the importance of this project; of living up to the ideals of the Hippocratic Oath; of becoming doctors with compassion, not just doctors with skill. We must realize that, once we enter this hallowed profession, it will herald the end of our personal comforts, of our social lives. It is unfortunate but that is how we see it. We would dearly love to be proved wrong by you.
3. Other problems: Enclosed in the comfort of our homes, we doctors, nurses and paramedics often forget that we would not only come across disease and physical suffering in the hospitals for which we are aptly trained, but countless other, often ignored, factors as well, which in turn are causing pollution, and are making it difficult for the medical practitioners to work with ease.
a. Sexual harassment: Even in these times, when medical profession is said to be totally crowded by the female members of the society, lady doctors, young medical students and nurses going on rounds are not safe from the remarks and stares of patients and their family members, which puts them off, immediately, and does not allow them to do their jobs properly.
b. Illiteracy and pollution: A casual walk around the corridors of Civil Hospital during OPD timings and even through the wards will show food wrappers and packages on the ground, dirty finger marks on the walls, families squatting on the floor eating and throwing food and their small children performing their private jobs under the nearest bush. In the wards these same families are trying to feed their patients with their unwashed hands, and having lead a difficult, poverty stricken life, and in an attempt to save the lives of their loved ones, they are often found asking the doctors and nurses to financially help them, which causes the practitioners to run away from their vicinity. Also the language barrier is a big problem in the doctor patient relationship.
The environments of the hospitals, themselves, are very depressing, with illness all around and death a common sight, loads of students do not know how to handle the situation, and most of the doctors having got used to, remain unmoved by, it.

For any conscientious medical student or doctor, the only possible reaction is to try and put an end to all this. Yet, in our determination to achieve this desired goal we often choose the most obvious path, viz. get the sweepers to pick up the trash; send the poor families with the children out of the hospital while allowing only one person to stay back; insisting that patients in the OPD and the attendants in the ward use the bathrooms correctly and leave it neat and clean. All this having been done, have we really solved our problems? Is that pleased and satisfied smile that spreads over our faces justified?

On the face of it -- Yes.

After a second closer look -- No!

The OPD area would be clean but it would also be barren. The lack of attendants looking after their own patients would result in many patients lying alone in bed suffering terribly from loneliness and depression and being unable to call for a doctor when they need one.

Our determined conscientious doctor would then start on a mission of looking after the patients in the wards. the number of staff on duty would be increased so that each patient can ring for medical help whenever needed. The sweepers and other menial staff would have to clean the corridors every hour. The medical students would be assigned to go down and talk to the patients after classes.

are unfortunately high that all this may not work. Many such proposals are shot down by the hospital administration due to lack of governmental funds. The medical students would find reasons to disappear for long hours in order to do their own studies, the excess staff would spend their time talking at the desk or resting after doing an exhausting night duty at someone’s house as a private attendant and the sweepers would be found complaining and cursing the patients and their families for being unclean.

People prefer to suffer illnesses at home or go to expensive clinics they can ill afford, rather than leave their children uncared for at-home when visiting the hospital for their own treatment. They would hence invariably bring their children along with them to the hospital.

So is this the end of the story for our conscientious doctor? Will things soon slide back to their original conditions? Possibly yes, because he tried to remove the effect rather than the underlying root causes of the pollution, dirt and filth.
The main cause for all these problems is illiteracy on the part of patients.

If the patients are given a pictorial walk-through, or given a gentle talk by an impressive looking doctor, they would learn to keep the hospital as clean as their own homes. In addition, large dustbins at every corner would make disposal of wrappers easy. Rows of public toilets would make it convenient to use them rather than the plants growing in the hospital grounds. Awarding and keeping incentives for good service, getting the staff on duty to ask the patients, to keep themselves and their surroundings clean, and pointing people out as soon as they litter, would ensure cleanliness in the hospital wards and grounds with less burden on sweepers. Providing soap as only liquid soap which falls down drop-wise would ensure that attendants keep their hands clean. An increase in the salary of the staff would greatly reduce their need to do private jobs after regular hours and would make them more attentive to the needs of the patients at hand.

What is the result of these problems?

Due to these unfortunate constraints which the medical fraternity operates within, there is a resultant systemic breakdown in doctor-patient interactions. Doctors have become less attentive, suffer from poor time management skills and hence are usually never on schedule, are always stressed out and often rude and repulsive, and suffer from a misguided sense of superiority.

What role will PHP play here?

PHP will attack the problem in three ways:
§ Conduct workshops for doctors, nurses and paramedical staff. These workshops will focus on the softer aspects of the profession, and of the importance of viewing a patient as a human being and not just as a sick body or a source of income.
§ Conduct individual one-on-one counseling sessions for doctors, nurses and paramedical staff
§ Work with regulators and hospital administrators to obtain their buy-in and improve the rules and functioning in line with humanitarian ethical standards
§ Collect funds to supply the dustbins, build public toilets, awards for different wards, and removing other complaints that we may come across.

What steps have already been taken by PHP so far?

§ Work on medical ethics and doctors', nurses' and patients' relationships has commenced.
§ PHP is going to start by teaching the outgoing (final year) batches of medical students from this year, so that the new batch of doctors is trained in medical ethics.
§ A PATIENTS' SATISFACTION SCORE, DOCTORS’ SATISFACTION SCORE, AND NURSES’ SATISFACTION SCORE have been developed. This will aid us in evaluating our work, measuring the results we have achieved, and making appropriate changes in our policies and methodology.
§ If the results are measurable and positive, we will continue with teaching other students, doctors and nurses.
§ We will also start cleanliness drives for hospitals, nursing homes and clinics.
§ At a later stage, we will expand our horizons to beyond the medical fraternity, and will begin training people how they can keep themselves healthy with just a little effort.

What does PHP need?

§ PHP needs funds for its manpower and training workshops
§ PHP needs people to help with research work. Specifically on developing the material for the workshops and the process for the workshops. Do you know people who can help? They could be doctors, managers, experienced public speakers or comperes, or even actors or writers
§ PHP needs volunteers from every city and every country where the quality of medical standards is low and needs urgent improvement

What role can you play here?

For PHP, the role played by non-medical people will be as critical as that played by the medical fraternity.

§ You can help by spreading news of PHP to all your relatives, friends, acquaintances, colleges, universities, or any organizations or sources of funds you know. Please ask them contact us, so we can build up a database of potential volunteers who we will contact as soon as the project kicks off. We promise to revert as soon as possible.
§ As a layman, your inputs regarding the areas of weakness within the medical fraternity will be very important for us to design an improvement strategy. Your observations, feedback and ideas will be very helpful. Please contact us with any suggestions you may have. We promise that every idea will be considered carefully. Our email address is given below:

Are we the only ones wanting to help and bring about this revolution?

We would like to add here, that, all is not lost. We are not alone. The hospital administration is as keen as ourselves to bring about the change, and the dietary conditions, as we have ourselves observed and found, are better than private hospitals, and there have been many major changes that have been made in many wards and overall in the hospital. And we are, therefore, sure of their assistance and approval, and continuation and survival of our plans and project.

Come join us. Join the PHP. Be a part of the medical revolution. Help us make a difference.

And see the heartwarming results in the sunny smiles of happy patients.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there My name is Omair Imtiaz From Dubai
i came to know about this site through my COZ sister who actually created this wonderful idea. PHP will help improve most of the hospitals in pakistan, some of them dont even have proper equipment. it will help saves lives of innocent people who die day by day of starvation or those who dont have enough money to support their childrens opperations or theirs too...Their objective is to increase the working efficency of the staff and to be kind to their patients and allong with that comes the brand new equipments ...its all for a good purpose and seriously speaking i think with all of ur help and support "WE CAN HELP PEOPLE LIVE"

October 13, 2004 at 11:07 PM  

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