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PLANNING for HEALTH SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
DIARY

This is the year before India's next census. I guess I am just in time to have my planning thesis thrown in the trash can on the grounds of using archaic data. In my defense - I tried. And, more importantly, you helped. So the data can't be that antiquated anyway. But, before we jump the gun let me introduce myself.

I am Quais Fatehi, Architect (formally registered with the CoA and all that tosh) and grad student of city planning at the illustrious IIT in Kharagpur. We guys (me and two classmates) tried to do a group thesis using the same action area but tackling different issues like health, open spaces and traffic management. We got a major veto from the powers that were. So I am on my own, attempting to study the health systems in Goa and plan for improving them.

How did I get into health planning? Well, before I joined this course I was employed as architect for a firm called Asian Health Services Pvt. Ltd. who's sole occupation was to provide consulting services in health care facility planning and design. It was interesting and complex, stimulating. I thought it would be a good thing to specialize in. I needed to know more and so the course. While the course doesn't specifically focus on health planning it does offer enough flexibility for me to pursue it at my thesis level.

Why did I choose to do it in Goa? Now that's an interesting question. And no, the answer doesn't lie in tax free alcohol. Or babes in bikinis. Or the sun, the sand and Konkani food. Firstly, Goa is a small state. Small enough to traverse it's length and breadth in three hours. It has a good road network, not well maintained but quite good all the same. This means that I can focus on the larger picture without loosing out on details. Secondly, and more challengingly, Goa's people are rich, educated, and aware (all relative to the Indian scenario, of course). So, while the action area is small, the issues aren't simple.

I have the most wonderful guide in Prof. R. N. Chattopadhyay, who though initially resistant to my taking up Goa as an action area, has been supportive and encouraging.

I hope the site grows as my thesis progresses so that the information and thought can be used for the benefit of the beautiful and charming people of Goa.


10th July 2000 - This last month has just gone by collecting information primary and secondary, from various sources across the country. The thesis hasn't progressed beyond raw data stage yet and therefore is not put up on the site. The primary purpose of the site presently is more by way of introducing myself and my thesis so I can get feed back and get people in Goa to answer the questionnaires posted herein.

4th August 2000 - First presentation over! Quite a comedy of errors. Spent time (and the moolah)making transparencies in eastmancolor, annoyed the Profs. in the process who firmly believe sheets are the only way to present data (we may be in a technological institute but that don't stop us from being in the dark ages) and what happens when I start speaking? In the glorious tradition of IIT KGP - the power fails. It happened again later that night when I was relating hall problems to the HMC chairman. Maybe they have a voice activated switch at the DVC sub station. Anyway, for all concerned, my presentation went off reasonably well since I had back-ups in the form of printouts stuck on sheets which had the Profs. squinting to see what I was talking about and handouts which they used to fan themselves with. So the bottom line - more data on the site along with the objectives of my thesis. Do get back to me with comments. Adios.

27th September 2000 - Second Presentation. Screwed! Discovered my thesis-in-charge can giggle like a schol girl for hours on end during seminars. Wonder if he was hysterical. Thank god he's not my guide! Finished a bit of analysis and ready to start on the proposals. I hope my guide thinks so.

21st November 2000 - Third Round and still in the ring! Had some good sheets (even if i say so myself!), so good that the school girl asked where I got them plotted from, little realising they were prints from an ordinary deskjet. Got screwed for showing roads without proper topographical plans. Also need to carry out routing excercises and thow in some mathematical formulae to keep the IITians happy. I guess it all goes to get a convincing thesis.

19th January 2001 - Fouth and FINAL presentation. (Have submitted my thesis on the 12th of January 2001 - one of three of seventeen to submit this stuff on time - POB from my guide) Viva at 11:00 am. Gent called Kulshreshta from SPA, New Delhi and dame called Haldar from BEC, Kolkata are the external examiners. 10:30 am and my girl gives me a goodbye hug and kiss along with a colour xerox of herself as a two-year old. I guess I was in-loco-daddykins. Back to the TUD. Things started out peacefully. I was told I had ample time and was asked to go into laborious explanations about DALYs and other parts of my analysis, justify the choices made with limits and statistics. Then things started to get heated. Talked about a routing model used by moi and they exploded. RND cornered me and demanded explainations for formulae in my thesis, which due to errors were corrected in my presentation. The school girl remembered lunch and was tut-tutting about time. Used all the right words, so my guide was satisfied, centralisation, mobile facility routing, people's participation, etc. Eventually the jury conceded, complimented my graphic abilities and left.

PS: Should get a First Class with Honours in my MCP.


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Quais Fatehi, Architect Quais Fatehi, 2001