Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Exemplary Example of how the Indian Medical Fraternity upheld Brand India

News of the Super Bug, named NDM 1 (New Delhi M-1) broke and gathered momentum in just 4 days last week. We went from mild curiosity to sheer panic. Brand India is already battling issues and negativity – the recent CWG quagmire - among others.

We certainly didn’t need this report to bug India further.

What caused the headlines and the scare was that the Super Bug Report has been published by ‘Lancet’ – one of the world’s most respected Medical Journals. This would mean that the thriving Medical Tourism / Medical Value Travel to India would be hit in a big way.

Quickly recognizing the urgency, Barkha Dutt of 24x7NDTV, put together a discussion on her Talk Show – “We the People” that was aired on August 15th. An eminent panel * was invited to discuss the topic.

What unfolded as a discussion for the next 60 minutes was a worthy example of how Brand India was upheld by panel members from the Indian Medical Fraternity and other professionals in related fields.

Here’s how:

1. The panelists simplified the medical jargon for laymen to understand what the Super Bug report was all about. The simplification was underscored by a brilliant prowess in articulation and communication skills by the panel members.
Take-away for marketing folks: Simplify; Simplify; Simplify.

2. While some of the panelists were visibly upset about the methodology etc., they were neither self-defensive nor offensive. With a clear presentation of facts, they questioned the sample size and methodology of the report (just 37 across 2 cities) and asked if this was enough to say that India as a whole has anti-biotic resistance?

They questioned the basis of the Travel Advisory against India issued by the Medical Journal, when, in fact, antibiotic resistance has been prevalent world-wide and has been worrying the medical world for a long time.

They put the question back to the Medical Journal and asked if it had issued an Advisory to UK citizens against visiting UK hospitals when the UK was hit by MRSA.

Without arrogance or false pride, they made a case for Indian Medicine and why Indian medical prowess was equal or higher, and not just cheaper, than any other country in the world.

3. This panel demonstrated remarkable maturity and restraint, despite the anger and frustration in what they saw as an unfair setback to India’s fantastic and genuinely earned Medical Tourism.

A take-away specifically for our politicians towards Brand India’s up-keep: Please keep out the ugliness of word, gesture and action in your debates and discussions. Brand India goes down every time our electronic media give you air time.

4. The panel members had the vision to look beyond the negatives of the Report. They unequivocally agreed that the Lancet Study served a more important purpose – that of introspection and speedy action for India in the field of Medical Hygiene – an area where a lot needs to be done.

These members gave their audience something to think about - Have the courage to pause and look for a take-away, even if it the result/scenario is not palatable. Own up and admit to failures; Come together. Collaborate. Take action.

A big salute and thank you to the eminent panel members – you did Brand India proud.

*Panelists on this show included : Dr. Naresh Trehan - Chairman & MD, Medanta-Medicity; K Sujata Rao – Health Secretary; Dr. K Srinath Reddy, President – Public Health Foundation of India; Dr. Ram Subramaniam and Dr. Abdul Ghafur Khan, both associated with Apollo Hospital, Chennai and Dr. Padma Krishnan from the College of Microbiology, Chennai. Also invited was Prof Thomas R Walsh – Professor, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, who led the study based out of Bristol.

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