The problem: The WHO indicates that a child dies every minute from pneumonia in India. It is alarming that India accounts for 25% of the world's pneumonia child deaths. Respiratory disorders takes a toll on more than 2 million children each year here.
Many of these severe respiratory conditions require the need for a bronchoscopy. Bronchoscopies help clear the secretions, open up collapsed segments of the lung, provides a sample to identify the bug and treat appropriately, identifies any structural abnormalities in the airway and helps in faster recovery of the child from respiratory diseases. It definitely contributes significantly in improving the outcome of these children.
The predominant public hospitals in Bangalore, India, caters not only to the 8 million residents but to many children referred from surrounding villages and towns for better management. Public children's hospitals admit 2500 children in the ICU and more than 10,000 children in the wards for care.
Inspite of the dire need to advance care for children in the many hospitals in Bangalore, there is no one doing bronchoscopies due to lack of training. Taking it up as the 'need of the hour', I went to Singapore for a year to train in the procedure to be able to help the hospitals give this care to their children. However, the public/Government hospitals do not have even a single bronchoscope to perform the procedure.
Who am I: I am a pediatrician from Bangalore, India. Having completed my Masters in Pediatric from a public hospital, left to Singapore, National University Hospital for my Fellowship in Pediatric Pulmonology, Bronchscopy and Sleep.
It is heart wrenching to know that once back with a skill to help these children, due to the lack of infrastructure and equipment in these hospitals, one cannot deliver the needed care. It is depressing to see children die when you know that it is possible to do more.
This is when I decided we cannot wait and watch someone suffer just due to lack of equipment.The goal is to be able to purchase atleast one bronchoscope for these public hospitals to treat children with severe respiratory disorders. Once I am able to establish the service with good outcome, be able to train more doctors in using this scope, to extend the skill across more hospitals. There will be a time when each hospital will see the good outcome with bronchoscopy in children and invest in buying more scopes and thus create the world class care we hope for.
"There are only two mistakes people can make along the road, not going all the way and not starting" - Buddha
We have to start to make this change in the system. We have to start to value every single child's life.
Quoted 2.8 mm videobronchoscope by Pentax: INR 12,59,924 ($20,275)
Quoted 2.8 mm videobronchoscope by Olympus: INR 14,03,924 ($22,593)