Tag Archives: Health

Homoeopathy is a misunderstood medical system

Hyderabad: Hoardings dotting the city claim ‘miraculous’ cure for a range of ailments through homoeopathy. From stopping hair fall to treating obesity and from bringing in hormonal balance to curing infertility, mushrooming clinics promise an answer to all.

But main stream doctors scoff at these claims and maintain that the very system of homoeopathy is a ‘scientific hoax’. And caught between claims and counter claims, patients are a confused lot these days.

“People have many misconceptions about homoeopathy and this is causing a lot of confusion. There has to be an informed debate about homoeopathy to help people in taking a better decision,” K. Gopala Krishna, General Secretary of Andhra Pradesh Homoeopathy Association, said.

Homoeopathy depends on the principle(called ‘similia similibus curentur‘) which states that a disease can be cured by those substances which actually cause the disease itself, Dr. Krishna explained. Based on this principle homoeopathic doctors prescribe medicine that, if consumed in excess, can prove dangerous to a patient, he said.

“Since the ingredients of the medicine are very potent they are diluted to a large extent. Sometimes the dilution extends to the point where the presence of original ingredients in the medicine cannot be discovered by any available scientific procedures,” he explained. Homoeopathy is not considered as a scientific system because of this reason, he added.

Homoeopathic medicine are not a placebo pills

While some commentators maintain that homoeopathy relies on mere placebo effect, Dr. Krishna points out that people are getting physical relief by its medicine for last 200 years and this proves that homoeopathy is not just a placebo effect.

Placebo effect is a process where a doctor gives an ineffective medicine (placebo) to treat a disease and patient is cured because of the mere psychological effects.

“Each system of medicine has its own strengths and weaknesses. Homoeopathy is best suited for the ailments such as upper respiratory track infection, arthritis, allergic disorders, hormonal imbalances in women and spondylitis, among others,” he said.

On the other hand the modern medicine, also called allopathy, has gained technical expertise to such an extent that it has no match in emergency, interventional and surgical procedures, he said. Because of this expertise allopathy doctors depend excessively on surgical procedures, he added.

Approach of Homoeopathy and Allopathy different

“Even the approach towards treating a disease by both the systems is completely different and hence they should not be compared,” Dr. Krishna said.

Whereas allopathy concentrates on curing an ailment by killing the invading pathogen, homoeopathy tries to strengthen the body so that it can fight the pathogens by itself, he said. “Our surroundings are brimming with pathogens all the time and they cause an ailment only when the body becomes weak,” he explained.

Admitting that some homeopathy doctors are indulging in false claims, Dr. Krishna said that these claims are damaging the image of the system.

Homoeopathy, if practised properly, is cheaper, safer and effective for many ailments and can help body in gaining resistance against ailments, he said.

“Excessive dependence on western medicine is proving to be very costly. A judicial balance between both homoeopathy and allopathy will reduce the cost and also improve the health of a person,” he added.

This article was published in The Hindu on April 19, 2012

‘I will get Rs. 2 lakh to bear the child’

Article Published in The Hindu

At the first look, Radha can easily pass off as any other pregnant woman waiting to go through her regular checkups at a clinic. But a closer observation would reveal that she is a tad older than a normal pregnant woman. The man accompanying her is not her family member but an agent.

At 33, Radha, a resident of Karimnagar district, is already a mother of two teenagers and lost her husband in 2010. But again Radha is no ordinary pregnant woman. She is a surrogate mother who took up another couple’s child.

“When my husband died I was left with a debt which I could not payback. It’s impossible to get a job to repay the debt,” Radha recounts wryly. “The offer to become a surrogate mother has come at the right time. I would get Rs. 2 lakh to bear the child. They would also pay for my maintenance and medical care,” she said.

But is she aware of the risks involved in pregnancy? “I have been through two pregnancies already and I am aware of the risks. I am fortunate to retain the fertilised ovum. Four more months and I can repay the debt and get back to a normal life,” she says. She also had to undergo a hormonal therapy during the preparatory phase of the surrogacy. “The doctors have explained everything and I have accepted the risk in each stage.”

Radha shares accommodation, provided by her agent, with five other surrogate women. “My children come to visit me at times. They know what I am doing and they support me,” she claims.

(Name of the surrogate has been changed to protect identity)

‘Qualifications’ of a surrogate mother

Article published in The Hindu

Poor, widowed, abandoned, indebted, uneducated and desperate — these are but the ideal qualifications of a surrogate mother today.

For a barren couple who cannot find a surrogate in their own circles, the womb of this underprivileged woman that is on hire, is almost sacred. And with no paucity of deprived women in the State, the couple literally have a wide ‘variety’ of women to choose from.

From a poor woman’s age, looks, background to health, the choice rests entirely on the wanting couple. That apart, the lifestyle of this woman during the ten-month-long period of surrogacy all but depends on the couples’ diktat.

And finding these women, surprisingly, is no difficult task with numerous self-appointed ‘agents’ spread across the city. Acting as a conduit between the poor surrogate, prospective parents and fertility clinics, these agents are a busy lot.

For an unemployed, abandoned or widowed woman with a family to look after, the Rs. 2 lakh offered by agents, or in certain cases clinics themselves, even for bearing another’s child is no small amount.

Wretched situation

“The situation of women who have decided to act as surrogate mothers is wretched one. While earlier only widowed women with no means of livelihood were willing, it is a different scene today,” said Seshasai, a medical practitioner.

A self-certified doctor in Dilsukhnagar, Seshasai also doubles up as an agent and counsellor helping poor woman find an income in surrogacy. “It is a shame that, because of the money involved, husbands themselves are ready to leave their wives with us for nine months to act as surrogates today,” he added.

Although married and with children these women are forced to practically live in isolation, away from their families, throughout the period of pregnancy. “Commercial surrogates are discouraged from living with their families owing to the possibility of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases and other such reasons,” said Dr. K. Anuradha of Anu Test Tube Baby Centre.

Commercial surrogates are kept in hostel accommodations maintained by agents or certain clinics themselves. Despite several issues and uncertainties involved in the process, poor women are today increasingly looking at surrogacy as a means of livelihood. “Almost nine years ago, I had to convince poor patients at my clinic about the monetary benefit of acting as a surrogate mother. Today, poor women from across the State are themselves convincing their kin to take up surrogacy for the money,” said Seshasai. And bringing in other women to act as surrogates too is not without its incentives. Every time a woman refers another to an agent for surrogacy, she receives a sum of up to Rs. 25,000, agents said.