Technological innovation and improved understanding of human diseases are the two pillars of medical science advancement. While "clinical medicine" sets the pace of progress, it marches forward hand in hand with computerisation and development of imaging and molecular biological tools for precise diagnosis and treatment of diseases. These developments have reached India where medical care today is comparable to what is available in the most advanced countries. We may justifiably take pride in the quality of treatment on offer, but such care is rarely accessible or affordable to the large majority of Indians. Government-funded health care has ceded its dominant role to the market, which, by its very definition, has no responsibility to those without the ability to pay. An expanding private sector, even in health care, might be a necessary element of globalising India where the needs of Bharat often drop under the radar. This means the professional excellence that can be bought at a high cost at private marvels of medicare is beyond the reach of most Indians. And that violates one of the cardinal principles of health-care delivery - equity.
Why The Institute
Liver and gastrointestinal illnesses are emerging as health-care priorities in India. The management of liver and gastrointestinal diseases has changed significantly in the past two decades. Molecular (gene-based) methods have provided precise diagnostic tools. Therapeutic endoscopy and interventional radiology have changed the approach to many diseases of the liver and biliary tract, including the pancreas. Imaging modes like the MRI, CT scan, ultrasonography and Fibroscan are yielding higher and higher resolution and precision every day. New drugs to treat liver diseases are being developed. Illnesses such as hepatitis viruses, once considered untreatable, can mostly be cured now. Surgical techniques have improved along with critical care, leading to significantly better surgery outcomes in difficult liver and gastrointestinal illnesses. Transplantation is changing the lives of people suffering from advanced incurable liver disease.
Along with scientific development, organisationally, too, there are now several centres in the country that provide state-of-the-art care. We want to not only add to the list but also to take a step ahead in the care and arrangement of care in liver and gastrointestinal diseases. Located in Kolkata - the heart of Eastern India - the Indian Institute of Liver and Digestive Sciences intends to be the apex clinical care and research centre not only in the region but all over the country.
Involvement, not Investment
The Liver Foundation, West Bengal, is committed to providing care that is accessible and affordable by the majority of Indians. The institute will not be able to offer care completely free, but it proposes a revenue model that will ensure no one is denied treatment for lack of money.