Media plays a major role in our lives now. Gone are the orthodox days when we only had a single government channel that made us sleep at 9.15 p.m. Now we have a huge choice of not only the channels but also of the ways we want to spend the rest of our day. We have better opportunities to get hold of our favorite books, magazines, newspapers, etc. Most importantly, internet has changed our lives drastically. I personally read most of my books on Kindle, read my newspaper online and have literally forgotten when I bought a print magazine last time. Everything is available on a click.
Health & Media’s Role
Among other categories of information that we receive online, we are also provided with information regarding health issues. Many known websites allow you to diagnose your own problems by providing a list of symptoms. You choose from these symptoms and they come back with a narrower list of diseases or disorders you may be suffering from. We cannot question the credibility of the information provided on these websites. Neither do we think that a patient should be kept blind about what he is plagued with. But going overboard with the information providing thing is what concerns me.
Moreover, we have Pakistani health channels which quite often grab up a topic such as depression or hypertension or diabetes, etc. Although the public awareness is very important but some of these specialist that are showcased on these channels misguide the patients. Every patient has to be guided individually as per his requirements.
Pakistan’s Rising ‘Neem Hakims’
We cannot entirely blame the channels or the website for the fact that most of the Pakistanis have become “Neem Hakims” just by doing their own research online and by listening to the doctors on these channels. Regretfully, some of these specialist babble on screen with their names and clinic names flashing, are just making some bunch of money. Honest opinions should be confined to doctors office in order to give every patient customized advise. This is also prevent the self medication that many of Pakistanis do. There is no system of Over the counter and Prescription medicine restriction. And this makes it even more dangerous. Limited information regarding every disease and disorder will be healthy for both the doctors and the patients.
The recent issues regarding polio drops was the cause of mayhem in Pakistan, as to some extent, still is. The misguided residents of our civil society have very limited a unidirectional knowledge about the importance of polio vaccination. Our media should focus on promotion of doctor visits, cooperation with the vaccination team and most importantly, the discouragement of self medication.