A ‘Manual of Medicine’ for every Kurdish home

Kanya Said

By Kanya Said:

Very often, when I listen to doctors practicing in Kurdistan, I get complaints about how much work they have to do and how the stress affects their work. The hospitals are overloaded and there aren’t enough doctors to give patients the proper help they need. When entering a hospital one can see a broad mix of patients and their relatives waiting to meet the doctor and I am sad to say that most often the patients are called in to the physician several at a time.

This is a result of the pressure on doctors. The large amount of people and the mixture of severity of illness among those who seek medical advice is an indication that common people in Kurdistan have little basic medical knowledge.

The issue is that there is poor basic schooling of the population, especially in remote areas like the villages. The community in general doesn’t receive the necessary basic health education that is needed to help reduce pressure on the health system and lighten the enormous burden on doctors. This results in a large amount of people being admitted to hospital for simple health conditions that could be treated at home, while others with serious conditions that need dire medical attention can be neglected until it’s too late or more medical care is needed than otherwise would be if the condition was treated earlier. In both cases the consequences are that the doctors cannot give the correct therapy to those who are in most need of it.

I find that the right way to handle this problem is to increase basic medical knowledge among the population and with that aim I am writing a ‘Manual of Medicine’ in Kurdish. This will be a book that should be available in every Kurdish home, and used as a tool to increase the prevention of many easily preventable diseases and also a first point of call when trying to understand certain symptoms.

The purpose of this book is to raise awareness about the most common medical conditions and diseases in Kurdistan and how the general population can prevent certain illnesses and deal with symptoms if they arise. The book gives information about basic health conditions, different diseases and their symptoms. There are tips on how you can treat yourself from home and the best self-care according to symptoms. Key information about when patients should seek professional help when suffering from certain symptoms will also be included to ensure the safety of readers and minimize misunderstandings.  The most important aspect of this book is that, not only is it written in lay terms for the general population to comprehend, but it is also written in language that most who can read and write in Kurdistan can understand. There will be a focus on the most common diseases and illnesses in Kurdistan and Kurdish communities.

This handbook will lead to a higher awareness for different medical conditions, recognition of an illness’ severity and, most importantly, it provides a tool for knowing when you should go to the doctor. The ultimate outcome will be to take some of the pressure off our hospitals and healthcare professionals and make the patients feel safer because they have a better understanding of basic medicine.

The idea is that you should be able to look up the symptoms or diseases you think you’re suffering from to find out what illness it might be related to and whether it is worth seeing a doctor or attending hospital. It’s like a dictionary about the most common diseases; a ‘Manual of Medicine for the people’ and, most importantly, it’s written in Kurdish.

In the future I plan to develop the idea and write a book that cover a lot rarer and severer diseases that may not be encountered so much. The level will be much deeper and I will use specialist medical advice from doctors within each field to have the latest information about the updated treatments that Kurdistan can offer. This way the patient knows exactly what to expect when meeting a doctor for treatment and the doctors can discuss alternative therapy plans at a level that the patient understands. It will benefit the individual as much as the health care professional and the system they work in. But that is the heavy version of today’s project that I hope to present in the best way possible as soon as possible.

For now I want to highlight the importance of the distribution of the ‘Manual of Medicine’ and that it should be given out to every Kurdish home. I will be working on ways to make the book available to all people and communities. I am also aware of its limitations; however I hope this book can become a catalyst for further general medical education for communities in Kurdistan.

The handbook is currently in the process of being finalized and it will be published in the near future.

Kanya Said is a Dentistry and Medical student at Göteborg Universitet, Sweden. Originally from Slemani, Kurdistan, her aim is to return home and help in the development and improvement of the Health Care system in her homeland. Kanya is currently, beside her Medical studies, writing a series of books; the first one being a ‘Manual of Medicine’ in the Kurdish language, and she is planning her Master degree within immunology and nutrition.

Copyright © 2012 Kurdistantribune.com

7 Responses to A ‘Manual of Medicine’ for every Kurdish home
  1. Ari Ali
    November 15, 2012 | 23:08

    Here is another ‘self imposed exile’ kurds who wants to return home and ”help in the development and improvement of the Health Care system ”. There are not enough doctors in Kurdistan , doctors are busy and the only way kurdish people can have some health information is via a manual as though we are living in 1900 ! Guys when in Rome do what the romans do ! Can someone stop this nonsense.

  2. john
    November 16, 2012 | 10:29

    Excellent initiative Kanya. Preventive medicine and community education are an important part of good public health everywhere in the world; overall health service provision also needs adequate resourcing.

  3. Kurd
    November 16, 2012 | 11:20

    Ari Ali:
    weren’t you the one who said smoking is part of the Kurdish culture and expressed your anger when another doctor wanted Kurdistan doctors to stop smoking in the faces of patients?

  4. dr.soran
    November 16, 2012 | 13:33

    it’s really amazing, well done doctor, i want to have a copy of it, by the way i have written a lot of medical articles and books both in the kurdish and english languages, thanx.

  5. Dr Shakawan Ismaeel
    November 18, 2012 | 19:36

    Dear Kanya

    Well done for this initiative and a very good idea, however I feel it will not achieve its goal and appeal to a wider audience in a book format ! in the era of technology that people will want to have access whenever and wherever they want I think you should think about doing it in an APP format which will be far cheaper and in few years time Kurdistan population will have a wide access to the APPs on their smart phones!

    second points is to be aware that medicine is not that easy to write it in a symptoms directed format and sometimes that could be harmful if interpreted wrongly !! therefore every conditions you trying to write about needs to be written in a very safe way by specialist in that fields !

    many thanks

    Dr shakawan

  6. Kurd
    November 19, 2012 | 00:22

    This is a very good effort and you should be commended. However, I must also point out that right now Medicine has shifted towards a more specialized focus. You can’t write a book about Medicine and be able to cover all of medicine, regardless of your specialty. If it is a vey simple generalized medicine book for the daily citizen, then it is fine. but if it is going to be a real comprehensive medicine book, then I am not sure you will be able to give it accurate coverage.

  7. Dr.N.Hawramany
    November 26, 2012 | 20:20

    A sincere attempt by a young kurdish expatriate who is obviously impressed by the the development of medicine in western world.
    Any courageous attempt to improve health awareness of lay people should be commended.
    The main problem however is the lack of primary care system in kurdistan (family doctor system), were every several thousands of people are allocated to a primary care doctor who is doing triage of patients and only difficult cases are sent to hospitals for specialist care.
    The degree of development of any health system is measured by the numbers of people allocated to each such doctor, the less the better.
    Also a public TV station allocated for education of public about public health hazards und health risk factors like smoking, dental care,obesity, bad hygiene, lack of sport or exertional activities–etc. Also giving tips about healthy food preparations and more use of fruits and vegetables and less consumption of fatty and high calorie food items.
    Such a manual would be also helpful in certain medical conditions which are very common in Kurdistan like certain infectious diseases including, Malta fever(Brucellosis), Typhoid fever, viral hepatitis, worm infestations…etc.

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