Welcome to an insightful conversation with the esteemed Dr. PK Sasidharan, the author of the groundbreaking health book “Heal Thy World.” We are honored to host this interview with a visionary healthcare expert who seeks to bridge the gap between health and wellness, highlighting the crucial interplay between individual well-being and social health. Dr. Sasidharan’s deep understanding of the subject has led him to address neglected aspects of healthcare, paving the way for a healthier and happier world. Join us as we delve into his journey, perspectives, and the transformative message behind his book.
Q1. What initially sparked your interest in the field of healthcare and wellness?
Dr. Sasidharan: There is a huge lacuna in health and wellness. Health/wellness and diseases are two sides of the same coin. I happened to work in a museum of diseases and realized that diseases occur due to neglected health care and disease care is only damage repair work and is not genuinely health care in the true sense. We ignore all positive determinants of social health and end up manufacturing diseases. Diseases multiply disproportionately to population growth. We leave the people to access superspecialist centers and do organized doctor-shopping or leave them to access unscientific practices alone. There only are aberrant and distorted approaches in the name of health and wellness and that too for individual health. Social health is neglected orphan in some countries. True focus on health and wellness should address social issues and I realized that individual health is a reflection of social health. Like the saying sound mind in a sound body, sound individuals in large numbers are possible only in a sound society. Even the disease care machinery will not be sustainable in the long run, unless we focus on health and wellness and scientifically reduce the disease burden, by deploying large numbers of trained and motivated primary care doctors( GPs/family doctors) and by providing all the social determinants of health to each and every individual.
Q2. How do you navigate the balance between your professional life and personal well-being?
Dr. Sasidharan: I totally neglected personal well-being till 45 years, only after I started noticing some health problems, I started taking care of my personal well-being; after getting better insight I am now taking care of my personal well-being which actually helps me in professional work too. It is a mandatory action for all individuals. With the cooperation of my life partner, we are able to manage it somehow.
Q3. What do you find most rewarding about interacting with readers and discussing your ideas with them?
Dr. Sasidharan: The satisfied smile on their face- Those who have understood what I said have copied these tips into their lives and I could witness the more energetic smiling faces and the reversal of several lifestyle disorders.
Q4. Could you share some of the positive feedback or impactful stories you’ve received from readers of “Heal Thy World”?
Dr. Sasidharan: Mostly it is from my students and like-minded doctors- several of them have changed their approach to the profession and personal well-being. Some may not acknowledge my help, but I have seen several doctors adopting a changed attitude towards life and profession.
Q5. In your opinion, what are some effective ways to engage individuals in discussions about health and wellness, encouraging them to take an active role in their own well-being?
Dr. Sasidharan: It is possible with large numbers of trained family doctors sitting in the PHCs and private clinics, with every individual and family having easy access, who would naturally function as friends, philosophers, and guides to help the people using scientific principles with a focus on health and wellness too. Engaging primary school students with motivated primary school teachers in school health programs, under the guidance of trained family doctors is another way forward.
Q6. The book highlights the neglected state of social health in countries like India. What are some specific challenges and barriers that hinder the improvement of social health, and what steps do you propose to address these issues effectively?
Dr. Sasidharan: Every individual should get good primary education, shelter, safe drinking water, and access to a balanced diet, and each individual should have access to trained primary care doctors there should be decentralized integrated farming to create access to all the components of a balanced diet. The barriers are poor primary education and poor primary health care and corruption. Good politics is essential for social health care.
Q7. If you could summarize the core message or takeaway from “Heal Thy World” in a few sentences, what would it be?
Dr. Sasidharan: Health cannot be achieved in compartments, either in the body of an individual or in any society alone. Individual health is a reflection of societal health or the availability and accessibility to all the positive social determinants of health, health is a reflection of having good primary school teachers, good primary care doctors, and decentralized integrated farming.
Q8. As an author with a vision for a healthier world, what steps do you personally take in your own life to promote health and well-being, and how do you believe individuals can contribute to creating a healthier society?
Dr. Sasidharan: I have been giving classes and writing about all these issues for the last two decades to spread the message on social health and individual health. But without adequate social reforms, no one actually continues to sustain individual health. My family members, my students, and my patients have adopted healthier lifestyles and I can see the more energetic and more happy faces of people around me. Even the critics of mine have started copying all that I have been advocating, though they never acknowledge that.
As we conclude this illuminating exchange with Dr. PK Sasidharan, the message of “Heal Thy World” resounds with profound significance. The book reminds us that individual health is intrinsically linked to the well-being of society and the availability of essential social determinants. Dr. Sasidharan’s dedication to promoting health and wellness has inspired positive change in the lives of countless individuals, from students to fellow doctors. Through his tireless efforts, he envisions a future where trained primary care doctors and accessible healthcare empower people to take charge of their well-being. Let us carry forward the lessons learned from this remarkable interview and actively contribute to creating a healthier society for all.