ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Medical Community s Civil War-Plague in Retrospect

Medical Community's Civil War Plague in Retrospect MOHAN RAO (EPW. October 15, 1994) examined the latest outbreak of plague in India from an economic and historical perspective. We can look at it from another angle. The epidemic provoked a virtual civil war among India's medical community, which assumed furious dimensions a couple of days after September 23, the day newspapers carried terrifying headlines of pneunomic plague having struck Surat. Rumblings had, however, been heard earlier, in the beginning of September when the Haffkine Institute. Bombay questioned the technical acumen of the central government's, National Institute of Communicable Disease, in diagnosing bubonic plague in Beed district of Maharashtra. Haffkine did not sustain its campaign presumably for want of sufficient moral strength. Hven Sharad Pawar, apprehensive that the diagnosis of a known or an unknown disease as plague might send foreign investors scampering back home or even ruin the existing economic structure of the state, could not carry conviction with the centre, which, in retrospect, it appears was hell bent on declaring the epidemic as plague. In the end the Maharashtra government had to order their health services all over the state to look for all suspicious characters, simulating any of the plague symptoms door to door, and offer them antibiotics or even hospitalisation, if they chose. For the poor in Maharashtra, generally scorned and exploited by the medical profession, it meant an unsolicited medical check-up.
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