Why Medical Doctor Should Lead A Nation

5 Feb

Yes, the title alone can bring controversy, I know. But before you call me crazy, please let explain something you maybe don’t know about this medical doctor profession and why it should. Afterall, all of us have craziness in ourselves, but just in different level.

The New Paradigm of Health Care

There are 3 levels of treating disease: prevention, curative, and rehabilitation. Prevention consists of health promotion and specific protection. The main idea of health promotion is improving health in general term like providing clean water and better sanitation. Specific protection is similar with health promotion, just more specific to prevent specific disease. Immunization and vaccination are the easiest example. Curative consists of early diagnosis and prompt treatment, and disability limitation. These are what the most health care provider do, curing one’s sickness and preventing it from getting worse. Rehabilitaion aims for improved quality of life in patients with disability caused by disease.

In the past 10-20 years, the medical paradigm shifted. In the past, the medical world focused mostly on the curative and rehabilitation. Nowadays, the focus changed to prevention. The world has proven that prevention is cheaper and more effective than curative in community.

Here is the example. Before the invention of vaccine, smallpox killed approximately 5 million people per year. Today, smallpox is nothing but memory of the past. Similar story take place in measles. Although measles still haven’t been eradicated completely, the incidence, morbidity, and mortality dropped dramatically. Curative paradigm will never reach this achievement. True that vaccine is “the best science can give” (Katz, 1999). But without policy to support vaccination, that great invention shall come to a waste.

Health Intersects With Many Aspects of Life

Physician and health care provider should treat his/her patient as whole. Not just the body, but also all other aspect: social, economy, culture, psychology, etc, etc, etc. This mindset came from the fact that physical illness can be caused by many causes.

There are 3 factors playing role in health: host, agent, environment. As long these 3 factors in the balance, the disease will less likely to occur. Any disturbance in one or more of these factors may allow disease to appear. Host is factor of individual state, like age, gender, race, height, weight, genetic, physical and mental state, and so on. Agent is anything causing health problem: viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc. Environment is… well… environment. The place where one lives. Environment covers wide range of variable, including physical (temperature, climate, sunlight, wind, humidity, even noise), chemical (radioactive), biological (pets, pests), economic, social, and culture.

If you understand this concept, you will realize how difficult it is to improve community’s health. Allow me to give an example. I live in the country where many people in rural areas still poop not in latrine nor other proper place. Guess what? They do it in river (and some open areas). The result is obvious: the water is contaminated, and that’s not good. Not good at all. Initially, I thought that the main problem was financial problem, but that’s not it. Through some interview, I found that most people don’t feel comfortable if they poop in closed-and-clean latrine. So, the conclusion is, this is a social problem causing health problem. And what can a mere medical doctor alone do to change this? There are plenty of example, I just can’t mention the one by one (language barrier, english isn’t my first language).


I’m just pointing out that many health problems in this world don’t stand alone. They’re connected to other aspects of life. Too often, an error in one aspect causes error in other aspect, and it may affect other aspect. It’s like chain reaction, or domino effect. A medical doctor is nothing compared to this situation.

Final Words

Medical doctor and other health care provider play pivotal role in improving the quality of community’s health. However, if the old paradigm of health doesn’t undergo revolution, most likely the current situation will remain unchanged. Medical doctor CAN save lives, but if one do hold power, even MORE lives can be saved.

I’m not saying that a nation MUST be ruled by medical doctor. It’s an extremely difficult task with great responsibility. Leadership is a definite prerequisite, both in skill and character. Vast knowledge also cannot be neglected. Communication skill is very vital. Clear vision about where you want to go is a must.

A true medical doctor will always do no harm to others and will consider other’s good above all else. This idealism should be the idealism of any other people who lead the nation. It’s a great burden, yes, no question about it. But I’m expecting us all not to get discouraged. Instead, let it be a motivation so we can improve ourselves. Any people has right, and the society will determine whether one’s worthy to lead them.


2 Responses to “Why Medical Doctor Should Lead A Nation”

  1. Lala August 5, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    in fact, many of great nation leaders from our past are medical doctors. hello by the way, nice blog Din 😀

    • sangarudin August 6, 2015 at 2:34 am #

      Hi, lala 🙂 . I made this post because i’m very concerned about our nation. Our nation is ill, and also its people. I really want to help, but what can i do as a mere medical doctor?

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