This is also the story of the absolute lack of understanding
displayed regularly by some media personnel about the process of
scientific innovation in the modern day
Let us think for a
moment about a physician who specialises in Infectious Diseases (ID) and
currently practices in Pakistan. Her total training time to become a
fully qualified, American board certified ID consultant would be roughly
11 years: five or six years of medical school education in Pakistan,
three years of Internal Medicine residency training in the US and then
two additional years in the Infectious Disease fellowship programme.
During these years of extraordinary hardship, she was also able to
publish a couple of review articles in a medical journal on viral
illnesses. Her area of interest had always been the treatment of
Hepatitis C — a chronic viral infection of the liver — in Pakistan and
most of her patients therefore, in the present practice, carry that
infection. She treats her patients according to international standards;
she follows the guidelines, keeps up with their recommendations and has
an overall 40-50 percent cure rate, a little lower than the
international success rate.
One day, she was invited by a
renowned television anchor in his show to discuss the treatment options
available in Pakistan for Hepatitis C. (The chronic viral infection now
is endemic in our country and almost eight to ten percent of the total
population has been infected by it.) He reassured her that she was the
only qualified specialist in the town and her expertise could save many
lives and help the population at large to prevent future exposure.
Additionally, he spoke highly about her publications and admired her
professionalism. She must have been flattered to hear that her
contribution was finally recognised and excited to be able to talk on
the public forum. She gladly accepted the invitation and started
preparing her presentation. She wanted to emphasise disease prevention,
the latest research, current concepts and the different treatment
options in the programme.