Is our system of curative medicine out of date ?

In ancient china there was a beautiful system of medicine in practice. A well to do man used to pay his medical officer a fixed payment as long as he was in health. But whenever the person became ill, the Payments were suspended until health had been restored again. In other words the patient paid the doctor for keeping him in health, not for curing him when in disease. This seems startling to one familiar to the modern system but in reality has a great deal of common sense to recommend it.

The principle seen in the proverb (A stitch in time saves nine). Troubles and sickness spring from small beginnings and nine their causes are operating before the symptoms obvious themselves.

Now a day we do have a good deal of preventative medicine. Vaccinations as well as various inoculations are all evidences of treatment to prevent disease rather than cure it. But instead of such obvious illustrations, we may mention a number of rules of good living which are broken with the result that illness and diseases follow. They are, living in bad houses eating insufficient or the wrong type of food, drinking alcoholic liquors, smoking tobacco, keeping late hours, working under conditions which create strain and exhaustion.

Many of those cannot be avoided because they are the accessories of poverty and inequality and not in the power of the sufferer to alter. But some faulty ways of living can be corrected both by the will of the individual and by the help of social services. Obviously it is better to improve condition of living by attacking those abuses and so prevent ill-health to appear and then spend money on medical services.

This principle may be applied to other departments of life. The first signs of moral decay are minor and appropriate to escape notice. But if neglected the next step is a complete breakdown of moral character, leading to evil conduct and crime. Much of this could be prevented by wise education, by that “stitch in time” which will save all the future expensive machinery of improvement.

  By Rehana khan(111/10)


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