Friday, February 13, 2009

Creating a Vaccine Free Orissa/World - It's pitfalls and illogic

The world population did not cross 1 billion till 1840s. It did not cross 2nd billion till 1930s, 3rd billion till 1960s, 4th billion till 1974, 5th billion till 1988 and 6th billion till 1998. Today it is closing in on 7 billion. (

The is result of undeniable contribution of science and technology and it's child, modern allopathic medicine. The advances of allopathic medicine in preventing premature deaths due various preventable diseases and epidemics, is visible and undeniable. Obviously nature's balance has been tilted in favor of human species, by advances in science and technology. It has resulted in large number of post octogenarian population & they are growing in leaps and bounds. No doubt there are bad effects of medicines and chemicals, which we don't fully understand yet. But to ask that we go back to old days forgoing modern medicines, is illogical. Are the proponents of this thought, asking us to go back to average life expectancy of 30 years? Such life expectancy prevailed before the vaccines came, drastically reducing child mortality. I hope not.

Many of us are past 60 years in age. In the middle of the last century people were considered to be of ripe old age, at that time. Very few lived longer. The population in India multiplied many-fold due three reasons in 1950s and 60s.

1. Prevention of epidemics: Cholera, Typhoid & Small pox to name a few.
2. Coming of age of antibiotics, curing most bacterial diseases.
3. Significant advances in modern surgery.

I am all for opinion and info exchange, as well as necessary debate. But scaring ignorant and illiterate people about modern medicines is both, immoral and abominable. So is charging them a hand and a foot, to treat them in a public hospitals.

Obviously science does not yet know lot of things and that is the challenge of today's science. What knowledge we have achieved so far, is only the beginning.
I remember reading "Brief History of Time" by Prof. Stephen Hawkins, where he quotes a Nobel winning Scientist of 1935. That scientist declared that Physics as we know it, has all been invented. That scientist obviously was proved wrong and it has advanced leaps and bounds, since then.

That men love to go back and live in the conditions & communities, they were born to, is well known. Interestingly, it will be and is being made possible, by the most modern of technologies, the Internet technology. There are two forces working here which both need to be nurtured:

1. Individualism, which results in individual's curiosity and will to work hard, to innovate thus to bring desirable changes & benefits to the community and to himself.
2. Collective organization of the society to make the results universally available for the whole of mankind. Governments provide incentives to such men to form corporations & to organize these collectives with profit motives, to make the goals achievable & possible.

The problem arises if there are no checks and balances. Then it goes haywire. Like a drug company recently raising the price of a drug by 60 times after introducing to the market to make quick cash, because they are in a monopoly situation.

I remember my father and our family priest telling me that potato and electric light were not allowed in Jagannath Temple at Puri. Electric light is now allowed in the Puri temple but don't know if potato is. Why? Because they did not know about potato/tomato previous to 18th century. Potato and Tomato were introduced to Europe in the 16 th century and thence to India, from the newly discovered Latin America. Earlier, they used to depend on roots called "Desi Alu", meaning, native potato. In fact for a long long time in Europe, Tomato was believed to be poisonous. Cherry tomato was used only for decoration. Then a German company "Bayer Inc.", found out that Tomato had high Vitamin C content, and propagated it's use.

Modern allopathy medicine is tested in the double blind methods by FDA, USA. There are some aberrations in this system. But junking science( vaccine) is irresponsible, considering that success of this system has resulted such major advances in human health and longevity, in last six decades.

My major complain against allopathic system is price manipulation by MNCs of life saving drugs, to earn super profits .

Let me depict a personal experience to illustrate how uninformed criticism is dished out. In the year 1997, I had a colonoscopy. Very soon after that club in Rock Island, Illinois, we used to frequent, invited a lady to give a talk on naturopathy. She made a statement that our intestine is like a drain which has not been cleaned for as long as our individual age. She won her point with everyone except me. I challenged her if she has seen her inside, her intestines large & small? She said NO. Then I asked her if she knew, what is colonoscopy? She answered in affirmative, though she said, she had never undergone it. She said, she knows what it does.
I told her that I have recently undergone and saw in a TV monitor what my inside looks like. After 50 plus years, it is in prime condition. That is because the mucous membranes are constantly being shed by the body. So it is more like a recently cleaned drain than a 50 year old unclean drain. Very spic and span.

She was very unhappy because her whole logic was based on that metaphor to explain naturopathy, which was demolished. But she was also giving out knowledge without being knowledgeable, thus needed to be challenged. And it did not pass critical thinking. When you get such info one has to be very rational, to check it out.

I am aware and am a critique of the aberrations of modern allopathic medicine, but the logic of Mr. Jagannath Chatterjee puts forward appears to me to be nothing more than a illogical and uncritical scare mongering.

We should develop ways to improve the vaccine to reduce the reactions, both qualitatively and quantitatively. We should also, in those rare cases where the unfortunate reactions happen, compensate them adequately. But to go back to the old days would be a disastrous surrender of many young lives. To go back to the old pre-vaccine days, is unthinkable. They were never better than today, if you go by the facts.

I am afraid this is not a debate but an illogical misinformation campaign, using failures of the natural system's bell curve, at it's tails.