Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Impressions of a Stanford student's visit to Bangalore


H4H was happy to facilitate a visit by Shila Soni to the Department of Community Health at St. John's Medical College, Bangalore. Shila is a Masters student in the Department of Health Research and Policy at Stanford University. Given below are her impressions of her visit:

"While the goal of my visit to St. John's Medical College was to learn about community health in India, I left with the impression that the major challenges in this field are really not so different than those present in the US.

Visiting rural Bangalore, I observed that many individuals did not have access to healthcare due to financial constraints and their separation from major hospitals. Although the living conditions and infrastructure of villages don't always compare to what I've seen back home, many Americans face similar challenges when trying to get appropriate care.

I was also surprised to learn about the disturbing growth of non-communicable "lifestyle" diseases such as obesity in the area. While poorer residents commonly suffer from malnutrition and physical strain, conditions such as heart disease and diabetes are on the rise due to the adoption of sedentary lifestyles by professionals. This came as a shock because I arrived thinking that exotic infectious diseases such as Dengue and Chikungunya were the greatest dangers for the population. While such diseases are still formidable threats, non-communicable diseases are also being recognized as key targets for community health interventions.

Furthermore, doctors at St. John's about cited raising awareness about health risks and encouraging behavior change as the most difficult aspects of their work in community health. This definitely hit the point that while innovative approaches may be needed to address health disparities in India, the core problems are quite familiar." .... Shila Soni, (MS-2008) Stanford

15 comments:

Partho Ray said...

Shila Soni says, "I observed that many individuals did not have access to healthcare due to financial constraints" - So what's new?
The problem is money. When it comes healthcare even the middle class is not spared of the high cost of access.
I have read and heard a lot on the subject of development, but what Stuart Gannes, director of the Digital Vision Program at Stanford University said at Davos in January 2006 is most impressive, and possibly the only solution...“We need to look at technology as a way to bring cash into the poorest communities,” Gannes said.
I have met Stuart at the DVP office at Stanford during December 2007 and have offered him a practical solution to his concept of deploying technology in bringing cash to the poorest communities. Then the poor can afford primary helthcare, and and Shila's observation can be addressed.
I am waiting for an answer from the DVP, Director. Can anyone tell me where is Stuart Gannes?

Partho Ray said...

Shila Soni says, "I observed that many individuals did not have access to healthcare due to financial constraints" - So what's new?
The problem is money. When it comes to healthcare even the middle-class is not spared of the high cost of access to this basic and essential service.
I have read a lot and heard a lot on the subject of health for all, but what Stuart Gannes, director of the Digital Vision Program at Stanford University said at Davos in January 2006 is the most impressive, and possibly the only solution...“We need to look at technology as a way to bring cash into the poorest communities,” Gannes said.
I met with Stuart at his DVP office at Stanford during December 2006 and have offered to work with him and DVP to find a practical workable solution to his concept of deploying technology in bringing cash to the poorest communities.
I am waiting for an answer from the DVP, Director. Can anyone tell me where is Stuart Gannes?
Shila Soni emphasises the need for an innovative approach.....you are right Shila.
Those of you who are interested in innovative solutions in bringing cash to the poorest communities can write to me or visit www.InnovationEconomist.com, and we can all work together in finding a common solution for the global consumer. Thank you!

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