Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Another kind of "universal coverage".

That's the more conventional approach. Now read this.
And more recently this is the strategy being employed.

        All of them raise a lot of questions about concepts of disease, prevention and cure. Personally I am diffident about any strategy that involves a large scale modification of the genetic content of an organism. India has seen a huge controversy over GM food with the Supreme Court banning new field trials. But the process has already seemed to have acquired an inevitable flow (as this article would indicate). Any plan of introducing GM organisms to ensure eradication of disease seems fraught with danger.

        A more significant issue, worth raising in this context is how these steps are also symptomatic of a larger flaw in our visualisation of society and its problems. GM mosquitoes may be useful or harmful but one cannot deny that their introduction is nothing but a stopgap response to mistakes that were committed much earlier---failures in planning and managing cities, failures in taking health care to rural areas and to the urban poor, failures in managing population..and so on. This is common to a lot of policies, seemingly off-the cuff,painful attempts at correcting systemic errors(the recent loan waiver being another prominent example). These attempts reflect nothing but a complete inability to think ahead and a total unwillingness to look back while making policy. Those who celebrate the vision and foresight of policy makers when they come up with such grand solutions would do well to look back and examine how many of the problems originated in the first place.

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