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...A better understanding of decisions regarding use of vaccines is required at community, media and policymakers’ levels so that blame, if any, is laid at the right quarters. Recommendations for vaccine use can be in the following categories: government includes it in its national programme and provides it free of cost; government recommends it but does not provide it; government does not recommend it but doctors are free to make their decisions; and finally the recommendation that the vaccine is not to be given. In the last case, usually licences are not given for sale in the country. Every decision in life is in effect a cost-benefit decision. So we compare the cost of being immunised to its benefit. ...TOI on Sept. 16, 2017, 2 a.m.
...In India, entrance to medical schools is based entirely on tests based on scientific facts and concepts with a little of logical/critical thinking – areas handled by the left side of the brain. Our medical curriculum requires hours of drudgery in trying to remember facts and figures. Almost no medical school in India lays any emphasis on art in medical curriculum. The right side of the brain is concerned with fine arts including imagery, poetry and drawing. As someone said “medical school attracts those who are of left brain, but then proceeds to atrophy what is left of their right brain”. Unlike physics or chemistry, medicine is not a pure science. Medicine is largely an applied science and it requires certain skills that are developed by observation, practice and experience – similar to the arts more than science. It can be said that medicine is science when it is used to study disease but becomes an art when it is used to practice healing. ...TOI on Feb. 28, 2017, 2:12 a.m.