Park’s Textbook Of Preventive And Social Medicine – From time immemorial man has been interested in trying to control disease. The medicine man, the priest, the herbalist and the magician, all undertook in various ways to cure man’s disease and/or to bring relief to the sick. In an almost complete absence of scientific medical knowledge, it would not be fair to say that the early practitioners of medicine contributed nothing to the alleviation of man’s suffering from disease.
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Medical knowledge in fact has been derived, to a very great degree, from the intuitive and observational propositions and cumulative experiences gleaned from others. A history of medicine thus contributes a review of accomplishments and errors, false theories and misinformation and mistaken interpretations.
It is also a study of the evolution of man and of human knowledge down the ages; of the biographies of eminent individuals who developed medicine; of the discoveries and inventions in different historical periods; and of the ever-changing concepts, goals and objectives of medicine. In the course of its evolution, which proceeded by stages, with advances and halts, medicine has drawn richly from the traditional cultures of which it is a part, and later from biological and natural sciences and more recently from social and behavioural sciences. Medicine is thus built on the best of the past.
In the crucible of time, medicine has evolved itself into a social system heavily bureaucratized and politicized. The “explosion” of knowledge during the 20th century has made medicine more complex, and treatment more costly, but the benefits of modern medicine have not yet penetrated the social periphery in many countries. The glaring contrasts in the state of health between the developed and developing countries, between the rural and urban areas, and between the rich and poor have attracted worldwide criticism as “social injustice” . The commitment of all countries, under the banner of the World Health Organization, is to wipe out the inequalities in the distribution of health resources and services, and attain the Millenium Development Goals.
The goal of modern medicine is no longer merely treatment of sickness. The other and more important goals which have emerged are prevention of disease, promotion of health and improvement of the quality of life of individuals and groups or communities. In other words, the scope of medicine has considerably broadened during recent years. It is also regarded as an essential component of socio-economic development
Medical Book Online: Park’s Textbook Of Preventive And Social Medicine – 24 Edition