The Nobel Laureate, Henri Bergson, succinctly stated as early as 1927 that: “Progress in mechanical inventions took place during 19th century. It was assumed that the material development would raise the moral level of mankind. Experience proved that it does not automatically result in moral perfection in men—[it] may even present dangers unless accompanied by a corresponding spiritual effort.”
I was very happy to note that the American President, Mr. Obama, brought out the name of Mahatma Gandhi in his election campaign while no such sincere mention is being made by Indian political leaders. Some of the best human resources from all over the world are contributing to America’s progress. I am glad to note that the new public health magazine Cancer InCytesfocuses on the healthcare needs of disadvantaged populations.
In spite of the major developments in science and technology, the health care needs of the common man are not being satisfactorily met, especially in developing countries. In India, nearly 75% of the population lives in rural areas, while most of the cancer centers and medical specialists live in major cities. Mahatma Gandhi believed that the future of India depended on the future of villages. Long before the Indian Independence Movement, he launched, by direct participation, a unique movement to improve sanitation, which included efforts to clean public toilets. The movement recognized that a practical solution for many health problems, including cancer, is prevention. It is important to note that the lowered mortality from infectious diseases in the industrialized world was achieved through sanitary engineering, public health measures, and better nutrition, long before the introduction of modern medical practices using immunization and antibiotics. Malnutrition is a leading cause of immune deficiency, especially in the developing world.
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