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AFRO-NETS> Supercourse Newsletter, August 21 2003


 
Supercourse Newsletter, August 21 2003
--------------------------------------
 
http://www.pitt.edu/~super1/
 
Dear Friends,
 
Zoom, zoom, zoom
 
The end of the summer for the Supercourse has lead to enormous growth 
to our group. We now have over 10,300 members from 151 countries in-
terested in telepreventive medicine. This must be put into context, 
as WHO has 13,000 employees, less than 1,000 involved in training or 
the Internet, CDC has 8,500 employees, with less than 500 involved in 
training or the Internet. The Supercourse faculty is cornering the 
market.
 
Eugene just got back from a months tour of the Ukraine, and he re-
ports that we have now 1,401 lectures. Also, the Golden lecture has 
reached 131 countries. We are an amoeba, going from country to coun-
try.
 
We celebrated at our favourite India Restaurant. We will try to post 
a picture, but we may have broken our camera!
 
Battle of the Poets: We have had several people send in remarkable 
poems that relate to the Supercourse. Our reality contest now is be-
tween Rumi, a wonderful Turkish passionate poet, and Tagore who we 
have heard quite a bit from as Arin loves him (we love both!!). Dur-
ing the next few weeks we will send to you some more prevention po-
etry as several others have sent to us wonderful works. 
 
"If nobody heeds your call and accompanies you, 
then you go forth alone.
Even If everyone dares not utter a word,
Even If everyone else looks the other way,
Even if everyone is afraid,
Be brave enough to speak what is in your heart, and say what you have 
to say!
If no one holds up the lamp on the way
If everyone shuts their doors on your face on a dark stormy night
Kindle your own lamp in your heart
Tread with bleeding feet, and move on your way!..."
 
Rabindranath Tagore, brought to us by Arin Basu
 
Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull of what 
you really love.
 
Rumi, sent by Sandi Pope
 
Aren?t these great!!! We are on a mission
 
SuperGooglization:
 
Wendy, Arin, thanks so much: A few months ago Arin sent us code so 
that we could do Google search in the Supercourse. Wendy then did a 
fantastic job in implementing this. On the front page of the Super-
course course you can now search within the Supercourse. Thus if you 
want to find all the slides that talk about diabetes, just put diabe-
tes into the search engine, and bang??you got all the slides coming 
to you. Isn?t that fantastic???
 
Epidemics of Ignorance
 
Dr Denish Moorthy sent to us and the grand challenge his perspective 
of the importance of Teleprevention. It is a moving, wonderful, aca-
demic, passionate view of what we 10,000 are doing. Please read it, 
you will love it.
 
My dear friends and colleagues,
 
I seem to have been only like a small boy playing on the sea shore, 
diverting myself in now and then, finding a smoother pebble or a 
prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay 
all undiscovered before me. Sir Isaac Newton, Physicist, Mathemati-
cian, philosopher, above all a ?Scientist? 
 
True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to 
acquire it. Sir Karl Popper Cabinet maker, School teacher, Physicist, 
philosopher, and a ?Scientist? 
 
"As we enter the digital decade, the opportunities before us to drive 
innovations are immense. This presents a unique role for the govern-
ment of India to create a vibrant knowledge based economy that en-
courages innovation and is built on deep partnership?? William (Bill) 
H. Gates 
 
India has a population of over 1,000 million. It was always thought 
that the mass media of television and radio was the best means to 
reach a population of that considerable size. In the field of public 
health, apart from the mass media of television and the radio, we now 
have an added power to reach a part of the 1,000 million population. 
The Internet. Even though the Indian net penetration is only about 3 
million, there lies ahead of us a challenge - how to combine the 
tools of the communications revolution and innovations in learning 
with the dramatic expansion in knowledge resources to improve the 
health of all people, particularly the world's poor. The answer lies 
not in the curative services, but in prevention. Combining the best 
of prevention information with the Information technology revolution 
and the traditional networks of information dissemination in India, 
and the world, to equitably reach out to everyone, is THE CHALLENGE. 
 
I work in the field of Iodine Deficiency Disorders elimination. For 
the last 41 years, the Government of India has been implementing a 
Salt Iodization program. We had a simple solution to eliminate a se-
rious problem like iodine deficiency ? iodised salt; we had the ca-
pacity to produce iodised salt for the whole country, and more; 
still, we now only have an adequately iodized salt coverage of 49%. 
Why hasn?t Universal Salt Iodization worked? Our recent surveys all 
over the country found that one of the key reasons that it was not 
working was the lack of information about the benefits of the con-
sumption of iodised salt in the general population; What we have 
growing here, and in many places around the world, is an epidemic of 
ignorance; an epidemic that threatens to undermine the sustainability 
of public health programs. Ignorance arises not because the people 
refuse to accept health education; the ignorance is due to the non-
availability of the latest practical simple prevention information. 
 
This is where the field of telepreventive medicine will play a major 
role in the not so distant future. Traditionally, didactic teaching 
in the classroom has always been a part and parcel of transmission of 
prevention information in the developing countries. What telepreven-
tive medicine adds to this is in terms of connectivity; the tradi-
tional networks will be infused with the latest in prevention from 
experts all around the world who have gained this knowledge through 
experience. There is no greater teacher then experience. Soon, draw-
ing on my experience in India, the Ministry of Health in Timor Leste 
will be able to develop a Salt Iodization program, suited for their 
country, avoiding the drawbacks that occurred in India?s program. A 
health worker in Benin will be able to implement the latest interven-
tion to alleviate the burden of non-communicable diseases, working on 
information obtained from Thailand. The business world is turning 
into one global marketplace and it is only fair that the public 
health world meet together in one place ? cyberspace. 
 
Sir Karl Popper?s work in the philosophy of science brought to the 
fore the need to account for and to promote the growth of knowledge. 
He believed that men like Sir Issac Newton (vide above) made possible 
a tremendous growth of knowledge by championing bold ideas and sub-
jecting them to severe attempts at refutation, an attempt at charting 
?the great ocean of truth?. It is a theory?s openness to empirical 
refutation that makes it scientific. If a refutation is avoided at 
all costs then one gives up science. On the other hand, if a theory 
is abandoned too easily in the face of apparent refutation, then the 
theory has no opportunity to show its strengths, which may only be-
come apparent in the course of debate. Telepreventive Medicine is a 
bold scientific idea that can be implemented globally, regardless of 
the level of technological advance in any country. That is because 
the success of Telepreventive Medicine is in the hands of the people, 
reaching out to touch others with knowledge. 
 
Bill Gates in one of his speeches mentions - ?Part of the idea of the 
role of technology is to allow people to pursue curiosity and allow 
people to work together in very individualized ways. Depending on the 
topic, the way that someone is motivated to be interested in that 
topic, the things that really bring it to life for them, or make it 
understandable to them vary a lot from student to student. And so 
having all of the information out there on the Web, the latest infor-
mation, and new ways of collaborating around that really can make a 
huge difference. Part of the vision, of course, in education is con-
necting everybody together.? 
 
In India, the people exposed to the concept of ?Telepreventive Medi-
cine? currently number around 200. These key people are mainly placed 
in Academia and non-governmental organizations. As we are writing to 
each other, these 200 people, with access to Telepreventive Medicine, 
and an ideology rooted in preventive health, are each teaching 100 
other people about the Supercourse lectures and Telepreventive Medi-
cine. That? amounts to 20,000 people being inoculated against the 
epidemic of ignorance!! The greatest advantage that Telepreventive 
medicine gives us is that it is a low cost, high output technology; 
the greatest investment is in an area that India has no lack of ? hu-
man resources. People connected, working together, people telling 
other people about prevention ? imagine if the power of the Internet 
technology were harnessed to combine with the power of empowered hu-
mans ? the outcome in measurable terms would be immense. Prevention 
information can reach more than the 100 million, which is the current 
estimate of Internet users in India by the end of the current decade. 
 
Now that is your Grand Challenge! 
 
Thank you for your time! Dr Denish Moorthy <denishm@hotmail.com> 
 
Best regards from Ron, Mita, Arin, Eugene, Sandi, Akira, Faina, Abed, 
Rabindranath Tagore EunRyoung Eysenbach, Soni, Abed, Rania, Tomoko, 
Wendy, Rashid, Ellen, Denish, Suze, Rumi, Julia
 
mailto:super1+@pitt.edu

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