Leprosy Mailing List, December 30th, 2008
Ref.: Park's Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine-19th Edition, 2007
From: Ganapati R., Mumbay, India
Dear Dr Noto
We are indebted to Dr V Pannikar for bringing to light the dangers of propagating wrong concepts about leprosy to the medical students. It is not the first time that this particular textbook has published such unscientific statements. When MDT was introduced by WHO and practiced effectively as a mass strategy for eliminating leprosy, Park was preaching archaic concepts of treatment and control. I pointed this out to the author with no response till the later editions came out incorporating the correct facts. By that time several batches of students had read the book and appeared for the examinations Even examiners are not updated on recent developments in leprosy!
The difficulty with textbooks is that such wrong messages reach a wide range of students and teachers and it is not easy to revert the damage quickly even if the author wants to do so. Probably an effective method is to issue a strong statement directly to the teaching faculty of all medical colleges throughout the regions where the text books are read. Perhaps an authentic body like WHO can do this.
I propose to circulate a note with Dr Pannikar’s letter among the faculties of dermatology and community medicine of the colleges situated in and around Bombay where we have some contact.
Dr R Ganapati
Bombay Leprosy Project