Saturday, November 17, 2007

Role of Beliefs in Public Health

A symposium on "Role of beliefs in Public Health" was organized in collaboration with Center for Inquiry, Delhi Branch at Conference room of Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi 16th Nov 2007. This symposium was attended by around 100 Public Health Experts, faculty and postgraduate and undergraduate students of all medical colleges (All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Lady Harding Medical College, University College of Medical Sciences, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College, Mualana Azad Medical College (MAMC) and Delhi University from Delhi. Symposium was inaugurated by Dr. AK Agarwal, Dean MAMC. In the introductory remark organizing secretary and Professor Dr. Jugal Kishore, Director (Hony) of Center for Inquiry Delhi said that there are various systems prevailing in India due to wide range of cultures, customs, religions, castes, etc. Many beliefs are detrimental to public health and need to be handled in a scientific way where social health specialists must work with medical professionals. Some beliefs are hindering proper health seeking behavior and people suffer. Strong believe in past karma and GOD help people to remain stay at home and do not seek medical care because GOD is going to solve their problem. Pregnant women have belief that planets and sun can affect their baby in their wombs. Dr. Innaiah N, Chairman of Center for Inquiry, India spoke on role of religion and belief systems on child abuse. People impose their faiths and religions on their innocent children at the age when they do not know about its validity. When you have accepted the United Nations resolution on Child Charter then why child still have to be forced to accept parental religions and faiths. Dr. Sanghamitra from JNU spoke about various beliefs system prevalent throughout the world and how these beliefs systems are important in making decision to accept health. It was wonderful presentation. Dr. YK Tekhre from National Institute of Health & Family Welfare highlighted some of the beliefs which are becoming stumbling block success of Reproductive and Child Health program. In the concluding remark of chairman Dr. RC Jiloha and Dr. GK Ingle, stated that this symposium is first of its kind in India and need of the hour. Such discussions are fruitful for the development of public health and community psychiatry in India. There was hot discussions on how parents can take steps to make their children free from burden of religion, till they become mature. The program was started at 2PM and finished at 5.00PM.

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