This trip is exciting for many reasons to me – on a most basic level, I have heard quite a bit about India through the years, and have long intended to come here, so I’m overjoyed to actually have a chance to do that. Beyond that, India has been a country of marked import in global health, both due to the impact it has on its citizens directly as well as the role it has played in research and in the provision of generic pharmaceuticals. As such, I’m particularly interested to spend some time delving into different aspects of the health system here, and learning a bit about how clinical services play out in Hyderabad. Finally, this trip does mark the inception of the BUMC internal medicine global health pathway, which I head, and I am deeply excited to begin working with Kari and Ania. As the first residents in the pathway they will have a huge role in shaping what it looks like for future years, and I could not be happier with the two residents who will be blazing that path.
Writing this on the first weekend of our trip, we have spent most of our time to date recuperating from the plane ride and in some light tourism/acculturation around the city. The latter does provide some grist for the mill in terms of economic and cultural aspects of the city – most prominent in my mind thus far is the pronounced gap between the rich and poor. By GDP per capita India does better than many sub-Saharan African nations, as evidenced by relatively good roads and a lot of vehicles on them. However, the gap between the well to do and the subsistence workers is dramatic, with the occasional slum contrasting sharply against the slick glass neon-display of Hyderabad’s sharper shops. I’ll have to pull some statistics (Gini, etc) later in the trip, perhaps looking specifically at the places where I’ve previously worked (South Africa, Rwanda, Haiti) for comparison.
Our travels around the city has also confirmed my suspicion that Indian food within India would be even more delicious than the American equivalents. My gastronomical experience is off to a good start.
Below, a shot of Gopal educating Ania, Kari, and Lauren (from left to right). Ahead, our first full day in a clinical context – we will be at NIMS, a semi-public hospital, for the next four days (more on that soon).