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ss triple helix - spring 2005,  A distant thunder and a different drum beat (Book Review)

A distant thunder and a different drum beat (Book Review)

A distant thunder and a different drum beat - Edited by V Philip - EMFI 2002 50pp - Available free of charge from or contact for a copy

Throughout the world the ways through which Christian faith influences healthcare services have changed radically and continue to change. This booklet is an analysis of a workshop run by the Evangelical Medical Fellowship of India and the Emmanuel Hospital Association on the changes in India over the past 50 years, and how Christian sponsored healthcare may be most beneficial to Indian communities in the future. In the past Christian hospitals in India were the major providers of quality healthcare in rural areas. Many have closed as government policies have changed and support from overseas has diminished.

Private and corporate healthcare providers have increased. The ability to maintain the old-style mission hospital with its wide community influence has become tenuous. The challenge in this booklet is how to keep a Christian influence in a society which is looking away from traditional Christian services. Increasing non-Christian influence in healthcare is the distant thunder. To counter such a threat of storm requires an assessment of which drum beat today's Christian soldiers should march to.

The booklet presents an objective critique of the positive and negative sides of healthcare which apply in any country. Statistical evidence is given of the relevance of poverty in ill health. The 'drum beat' response to this is holistic primary healthcare. Nothing new you might say. But do we truly promote and practise primary and preventive care?

The 'drum beat' is not just about such facts. We are challenged to consider why curative services dominate the preventive when clearly the latter can benefit many more and at far less cost. The answer lies in the application of moral principles to questions of healthcare. How and when is technology relevant? Is healthcare primarily a business? Why should treating diseases of affluence be more profitable than preventing them? Do we know for certain what we are aiming for? 'Where there is no vision, people perish and institutions follow'. While this concise booklet aims to define the challenges and pitfalls of medical mission in India, it similarly confronts all who seek to apply the mind and will of our Creator to the many aspects of healthcare. Medical mission involves all those who seek first the kingdom of God, whether in state, private or mission context.

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