Sunday, 7 November 2010

Official promotion of deception on health in India

The article by Professor Narendra Nayak shows how Indian Railways promote the absurdly primitive religious fundamentalist doctrine. Such a doctrine is widely promoted by Sathya Sai Baba, that sin leads to disease (eg. he claims that eye defects results from 'unsacred vision' click here)!

Further Indian Railways also promote a bogus medicinal device to cure countless ills... a vibrating massage automat in its waiting rooms! It is nothing short of a national scandal.

Railways and health  - by Narendra Nayak

After providing transportation services to the population of this country, the Indian railways have also gone into the filed of health services. Last June I was surprised to see very bold flex prints in
railway premises that Sin causes disease(see DSCN1737). When queried, the authorities had replied that these were put up in public interest. One could understand the anxiety of these authorities to bring this latest scientific research to the attention of the ignorant public that a really dramatic, earth shaking discovery had been made that sin causes disease. However, these were silent about treatment.

Now, latest research has proven that a gadget can be a panacea. I had been waiting in the waiting hall of the South Western railways at the Mysore Railway station on the 25th of October and saw a gadget in the hall. This, being a latest discovery in the field of medical science has been now provided for the benefit of the railway travelers in general and the upper class ones in particular. This promises to set
right as many diseases as that exist in medical test books except for a few about which we can see later. It ensures good blood and lymph circulation. Going on, it ensures the secretion of enzymes and
harmones(sic) from all glands in the body. It increases immunity, burns excess fat, keeps your body sleek and trim. It also influences lipid metabolism by bringing down LDL cholesterol levels. Besides, it also brings down miraculously LDL cholesterol levels, of course it does not say anything about increasing HDL cholesterol, but since most of the lay public does not understand that it has been left out! Perhaps one can expect it to do that too.

The contribution to the general health of individual is very, very valuable to say the least. As already mentioned above, it increases immunity and also prevents disorders and diseases. One can expect to
be immortal using this machine as it not only reverses ageing but also provides freedom from fatal diseases. It also discharges toxic wastes from the body effectively (probably through air as nothing has been said as to how it is going to be accomplished). The fitness freaks have not been left out, in fact they are told that it never makes you sweat, but you are always kept fighting fit. It also promises
exercise equal to hours jogging within 15 minutes in the privacy of ones’ home (Of course those who painted the blurb have forgotten that the machine can be also kept in public places)! It also tones muscles and keeps the body fit. What more can one desire?

Going on, the diabetic and thyroid patients are not kept out. It promises cures for both. In fact its miraculous effects can be felt both of the hypo and hyperthyroid patients-both the types would become
euthyroid.  Patients of myocardial infarction or heart attack take heart, you can be totally cured by this machine. Psychiatric illnesses the bane of the modern society can be also effectively dealt with by
this gadget. It promises cure from insomnia, tension and myriad of other mental illnesses. Having benefitted so many, how can blood pressure be ignored? In fact it is of benefit to those with hyper and
hypotension in case of the former it will decrease it to normal levels while the latter can expect an increase to the normal. For those who have not known the machine and hence have fallen prey to disease there is nothing to worry- it also speeds up the healing process! The neurological patients need not felt out left out, it cures paralysis and diabetic neuritis. The respiratory system has not been ignored- relief from allergy, dry cough etc are also indicated on the blurb.

For those who may think that this comes at a heavy price, there is a surprise. It costs only Rs.5 for a 15 minute use which is equal to a 5 kms jog. The instructions are simple insert a five rupee coin hold
on to the handles on the side and it will do the rest. Well for those who are prone to think that it is the solution to all of our health problems- you are wrong. It is not. Like all good things there are some exceptions to our cure all gadget- it cannot be used by women in menstruation, pregnancy, menorrhagia , those with skin dissases(sic).

Besides, the ones with metal implants, pace makers, those suffering from cancer, TB, malignant tumours ( in fact those who had not come to know of the wonderful effects of this well in time) cannot be cured and are specifically barred from using it. Again, those who have consumed alcohol are also on the barred category( perhaps because it may bring done the intoxication levels and you know how alcoholics are- they may ask for money back and compensation for the money they spent on drinks too!).

Last heard of, the railways are planning to buy these machines and close down their hospitals. They are also planning to install one at the Railway Minister Didi’s house to keep her in good health. Well,
I plead guilty. My interest in this machine and the taking of photographs got one person interested in it. He frantically hunted for a five rupee coin which was finally given to him in exchange for loose
change by the waiting room attendant, clutched the handles inserted the coin and waited for the miracle to happen. When the process was over, I mustered the courage to ask him whether he was relieved of anything. He said I don’t know about any other things, but I was
surely relieved of my five rupees!

Coming to the serious issues, should the railways promote such dubious gadgets in their premises? Is there no accountability for such claims? Such claims are an offence under the MRTP act (now defunct). The consumer protection act (still in force), the drugs and magic remedies objectionable advertisements act and a number of others. Should the railways allow such gadgets to be kept in their premises to mislead the public? The railways who claim to have a number of regulations to prevent customers from being cheated should pay attention to things like this too.