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    Posted December 1, 2013 by
    Ethicist1
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    Remember the unsung Healthcare providers on the World AIDS DAY 2013

     

    As we mark the World AIDS day 2013 today and remember the men and women and children who have died of AIDS, let us also remember the millions of nurses, doctors, scientists and  others who have been working in the trenches in the battle against AIDS. Most of us who have followed the HIV epidemic from its beginning can predict that AIDS will be history in a couple of decades. In 2004, I predicted that by 2050. AIDS will have been eradicated and I still believe that it will be. What gives me this confidence is the Antiretrovirals which can block the progression of HIV infection to AIDS and the medical profession that is dedicated to ensure that the treatment will be available and appropriately administered around the world. India currently has the highest number of HIV infected persons but the incidence is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Caring for AIDS patients is a big challenge. The deadly opportunistic infections that ultimately kill an HIV infected person needs to be properly managed to comfort the dying and those who still have a chance to reverse their progression. A vast army of healthcare providers is required to do the thankless job. Seen here in the image of his bust is a family doctor who had an idea to serve the patients in the second most populated country, India with affordable treatment and "to free all patients of all the ailments" His brilliant idea was to collect private donations from individuals and leverage the Government to match the funds. He called the hospital he founded The Shushrusha Citizen's cooperative Hospital. Not a private option and not a public option but a Citizen's option run by a board. When I visited this Hospital for the second time in 2013 in August, I was simply amazed by the thousands of people it was serving with any and all ailments. The founder of this Hospital ,Dr. Vasantrao Randive passed away in 1971, well before the first cases of HIV were identified in San Francisco but his legacy is the hundreds of health care providers that the Hospital employs to alleviate pain, suffering and terminal illnesses. When the hospital was new, they took every patient including the ones who were terminally ill and had a poor prognosis and so those patients would die and it got a reputation initially as a place from where the sick did not recover but died. Today its reputation is one of great pride that here is a fine hospital where you get decent care without having deep pockets or using up your lifetime of savings. Dr. Randive exemplified a true sense of service to his fellow human beings. He was humble to the core and his words that still resonate etched in my memories of him is the role doctor's play in the patient's recovery.. He said "Doctor's don't cure patients, they just help nature to cure themselves" The late Prime Minister of India described him as a live wire. He certainly was one who had a vision. One day there will be a cure for AIDS and some day it will be eradicated but we should always remember all those millions of healthcare providers who work closely with patients to make a difference in the lives of the millions who have been adversely affected by this scourge.

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