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Modern medicine is a medical system that is based on the assumption that the mind and the body are separate. Thus, patients are not treated wholly but according to the symptoms exhibited. The diseased body parts are taken into consideration. The physical health is treated in modern medicine and the worn-out and damaged organs of the body can be treated, repaired or replaced when damaged. Modern medicine is the only form of medicine that has mastered the art of organ replacement.
Modern medicine developed from the medical system in the olden days. Even in Europe, traditional medicine was practiced. There was a time in Europe when people believed that spirits caused illness. Some people objected this by saying that illness was caused by environmental factors. In those days. the medical service was a service to humanity. Nuns worked for free and not for money. It is called modern medicine because it stems from modern science and technology. This medicine is also called a conventional or orthodox medicine because it is prevalent. Any other types of medical system apart from modern medicine are called Alternative medicine ( read about Traditional and Herbal Medicine here).
Orthodox, conventional or modern medicine was once seen as an ‘art’ because anything that happened, including sickness, was seen as natural with no explanation since the spherical nature of the universe could not be explained at that time. It later became a science with people’s desire to make exploration and reason. They got to know that there are possible factors that could cause and influence nature, thus, the exploration of the causes of ill-health.
A disease is believed to be caused by germs (read about diseases here). Almost all known diseases are explained in terms of the pathogens causing them. It is believed that there is a particular germ causing a disease. For instance, a mosquito bite is believed to cause malaria(read about malaria and preventing mosquito bites here). It is believed that these must be eradicated for good health to be restored. Illness is also believed to be caused by the abnormalities in the body’s system. It explains that disease is from inside of the body. If any part of the body goes wrong, it should be fixed or replaced for health to be restored.
The “humoral system” posits that the body contains four elements of humor – blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. Health is believed to be restored when all these four elements are equally balanced. Healing occurs by restoration of the balance of these humour. The “epidemiology theory” states that diseases are not only caused by external cause-germs but also by the environment and factors related to man. According to this position, a man will not be ill if exposed to an agent only (germ). But, all the presence of all other factors results to health.
Practitioners in modern or orthodox medicine are physicians that practices medicine and are concerned with the act of promoting, restoring and maintaining health through the use of modern science and technology. They include the medical doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, opticians, psychiatrists, physiotherapists, orthopedics, gynecologists, surgeons, paramedics, laboratory attendants, social worker, pediatricians, dermatologists and others. Their qualifications, areas of expertise and roles differ but they all work towards promoting good health. They are well grounded in their different professions and they require a license to practice.
The advent of modern and conventional/orthodox medicine has helped in the elimination of germs that cause epidemics and serious ailments. Examples are smallpox, cholera, leprosy, and tuberculosis; all these were serious killers in the olden days. They have been brought to the minimum. Smallpox has disappeared all through the world with the coming of modern medicine. There has been a great advancement in health knowledge. Modern medicine makes us know that certain things we regard as an abomination are normal occurrences. For instance, the killing of twin babies in some parts of Nigeria, twins was once believed to be abominations. The killings were stopped because the orthodox medicine has explained how these babies were formed. Other examples include albinism and hunchback. Way before the advent of modern medicine, albinos, and people with hunchbacks were seen as abnormal and they were used for rituals and sacrifices.(read about the influence of colonial rule on culture and tradition here).
Also, modern/orthodox medicine has made it possible for deformed people to become normal through plastic surgeries. People with damaged organs are given new ones through transplant. The visually impaired people have received their sight through transplant of donors of dead people’s eyes. Other organs that are being transplanted include the kidneys, hearts, and livers. Mortality and fatality rates have reduced with modern medicine. Many babies and their mother delivered today would have been dead if not for Caesarean section. Pre-mature babies are now kept in incubators until they are mature enough to survive in the normal environment. These babies would have been dead if not for modern medicine.
Furthermore, modern medicine is the best medical care during emergencies and traumas which usually result in death if not handled immediately. Orthodox/conventional medicine has the quickest solutions more than any other medical system. The treatments of bacterial infections are best with modern/conventional medicine. Influenza and most deadly bacterial infections have been eradicated. This has led to the increase in the lifespans and life quality of the population.
Drugs are durable, efficient and effective. Drugs can be stored for many years. It takes a long period of time like to 3 to 4 years for pharmaceutical drugs get expired. There is no need for heating and warming of drugs unlike in traditional medicine, which lose its potency over a short period of time. There are dosage, prescription and scientific regulation of drugs in modern medicine. These drugs are administered by practitioners based on the body’s constitution, age, sex, health status, and allergies. Modern medications are tested in the laboratory to ensure quality before they are put on the market for sale. Their activities are backed up and checked by the Ministry of Health and other agencies like NAFDAC in Nigeria. Medical practitioners are strictly backed up by codes and conducts of practice. Mistakes that result to severe damage and death are punished.
Patients are diagnosed and treated through the use of scientific equipment like the x-ray, incubators and life support system. Vaccines and sterilized medical instruments are used for treatment. Patient’s past medical history is being checked before treatments. The activities in hospitals are in an orderly manner. Hygiene is held as their ultimate value. They preach good hygiene, safe environments(read about how the environment affects our health here) and other external factors promoting good health. Health education and preventive measures are given to the population to protect them from pathogens. Patients are treated and attended to in a safe, secured and neat environment.
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