2, April 2017 was a special day in Lent at Borivali. The St. John Bosco unit of the BCS, an affiliated Association of AICU conducted blood donation. Over a hundred participants and over 50 litres of blood collected by "Blood Bank". Uniqueness was that it was not only laity of the parish but the Vice President of BCS Lawrence Fernandes, spiritual Advisor of the unit Rev. Fr. Leon, people from around Borivali (IC colony, Malad, Andheri, someone from Andhra Ptadesh) as also quite a few non Catholics donating blood. It really showed brotherhood transcends religious sovereignty.The unit also felicitated one of the elected Corporators Ms. Anjali Khedekar of BJP (under whose jurisdiction a part of parish community is situated). The photos are pictorial testimony. Thanks BCS, St. John Bosco unit.AICU is proud of you.
Can we celebrate ‘Our Health’?
Come April 7th and World Health Day will be observed once again. The focus this year is on ‘Depression’, which as the WHO statement says, “affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living”.
Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives. “Let’s Talk” is the response part of the theme; emphasising the fact that those who suffer from depression must seek help, must talk about it- but the real challenge today is are there people who have time “to listen”?
Today, many of us live in great stress. Competition and consumerism, power and possessions tend to rule our lives and our world. What matters most is being “up-there.” Several parents today goad and prod their children, in an obsession to making them ‘prodigies’. The result is stress on all fronts and unnecessarily so. Children are literally robbed of their childhood. The work place more often than not, becomes a source of tension. Family life is marred because everyone is so ‘busy’, that value time for the other, has become a rarity. Continuous conflicts and wars, certainly adds to the depressive state of affairs everywhere!
A few years ago, ‘our doctor’ was our family physician. We went to the doctor for minor and major ailments. We were listened to and given some good counsel. Our family doctor was privy to husband-wife problems; the concerns parents had with their children and vice-versa; and of course, those with the ‘in-laws’. Some hard-to swallow powders and bitter medicine were given. One often felt better, not depressed, after visiting one’s doctor. Most often we were cured before the medicine dosage was completely finished. The doctor found time to visit us in our homes, when we were too ill to go to the clinic. Of course, there were always the big hospitals for major illnesses, surgeries etc.
Times have changed! The ‘family doctor’ in most places has become as prehistoric as a dinosaur. Every illness necessitates that a ‘specialist’ and a ‘super-specialist’ see us. Then there are the innumerable tests to be done and reports to be got. At the end there is a huge bill to pay. Several of the ‘posh’ hospitals generate astronomical billings – no patient and not even a corpse can be taken out of that hospital until every rupee has been settled. However, these expensive medical services in the country cater to a particular clientele who can afford it; for the teeming millions, in India, it is just beyond their means.
Healthcare, which is accessible and affordable, equitable and qualitative, is the right of every single citizen. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 25 states, “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services." The Universal Declaration makes additional accommodations for security in case of physical debilitation or disability, and makes special mention of care given to those in motherhood or childhood
All this seems good on paper. The reality is tragically different for millions of Indians –especially for the poor and marginalised sections of society. In September 2016, the first global analysis that assesses countries on sustainable development goal (SDG) health performance was launched at a special event at the UN General Assembly. This new index developed to assess each country’s achievement on a range of health indicators ranked India a pitiable 143 out of 188 countries, six places ahead of Pakistan and way behind countries like Sri Lanka (79), China (92), even war-torn Syria (117) and Iraq (128). Dr Vikram Patel, Professor of International Mental Health at the Centre for Global Mental Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and co-author of the study says, “the reason why India continues to be one of the worst-performing countries in health is because its political and medical classes have persistently ignored public health principles which ultimately improve a nation’s health, such as addressing social determinants of disease and ensuring high-quality, accountable, universal health care for people.”
Dr. Patel hits the nail on the head. The Government shows no political will to ensure the much-needed healthcare for the poor and the marginalised. In the last Union Budget presented at the end of January 2017, the allocation for the health sector as a share of GDP has seen a marginal increase from 0.26% in 2016-17 to 0.30% in 2017-18 .This falls abysmally short of meeting the long-standing demand (articulated in the Draft National Health Policy, 2015) of increasing the total allocation for health sector to at least 2.5% of the GDP. On the other hand, the Defence allocation was hiked by a further 10%, making it scandalously to about 12.78% of the total Government expenditure.
The fact that health has not reached millions of the men and women of our country is certainly depressing news. ‘Depression’ must be addressed; but a primary question that we need to ask ourselves “Can we really celebrate ‘our health’?
CHRISTIAN CORPORATORS FELICITATED BY THE BOMBAY CATHOLIC SABHA
In a first of its kind event, the BCS along with Bombay East Indian Association, Watchdog Foundation and Save Our Land, felicitated the newly Elected BMC Corporators, Ms. Winnie D’Souza, Ms. Tulip Miranda and Ms. Steffi Kinny at a well attend programme at St. Anne’s High School Hall, Orlem on Sunday 2 April 2017 evening. The gathering also felicitated and prayed for Ms. Jayshree David who was elected to Thane Municipal Corportation but could not be present as her child was unwell. At this event, all the Christian candidates who contested were appreciated and honoured.
Ms. Rita D’Sa, the BCS President, shared the vision of the Sabha to be more actively involved in the civic and political fields, the urgent need of getting greater representation in local governing bodies and encouraging the Christian youth to consider Civil Services and Political involvement as a viable career options. Adv. Vivian D’Souza, President BEIA and Mr. Dolphy D’Souza, Spokesperson SOUL briefly outlined the need for greater involvement of our Christian youth in issues of governance and to overcome the pessimism and apathy that prevails in the community.
In a brief interesting talk show conducted by Mr. Dolphy D’Souza, the Corporators shared what motivated them, their experience and acknowledged the support of the community in their election. They also gave tips for the future to the candidates who contested and lost as well as other aspiring candidates and offered them all their support. It was important to have a banner behind them as in the present scenario the chances of an independent canditate making it was near to impossible. They assured their full support for all the issues affecting the community and said they would cooperate in any way needed.
The Guest of Honour, Fr. Gilbert D’Lima, Parish Priest of O L of Lourdes Orlem and Dean of Borivli Deanery, placed the importance of this event in the light of the gospel of the day, stressing on the point that Jesus needs the cooperation of all of us in the work of transforming society and responding to the present political scenario. He also stirred all to be vigilant about the threats to our constitution and the values of secularism and democracy and to be ready to ask questions and stand up for our rights.
The Chief Guest, Bishop Barthol Barretto, conveyed the felicitations of the Archdiocese to the elected corporators and wished them a fruitful tenure of service. He offered them the values of Integrity, Benevolence and Unity urging them to be transparent and open in all that they do, pleading of them to reach out to the poor, marginalised, exploited and vulnerable and requesting them to be united in prayer with Jesus, who could do all things for them.
The event was ably compered by Mr. Anthony Dias, Jt Secretary BCS and was well appreciated by all.