A reason for us to be humble

WE are all guilty of taking what we have for granted.

A roof over our heads, food on the table, money in our pockets and a medical system that comes to our rescue whenever we are seriously ill.

We are lucky. There so many places in the world where people are not so fortunate.

Places where, with the minimal amount of medical care, lives can be transformed.

Where a 50p inhaler can transform a young girl from infirmity to a bundle of energy.

Where simple cataract and ear operations can restore sight and sound.

Dr Vijay Bangar, a specialist at Calderdale Royal Hospital is behind a registered charity The Slumdoctor Project, that began treating people in the Punjabi town of Phillaur five years ago.

He is appealing to other medics to join him on his next visit there in 2010 and hopes one day to set up a medical centre.

The name of the project, alluding to the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire was deliberately chosen to paint a clear picture of the kind of people who seek help.

"Some have such easily treatable problems, but either they can't afford the treatment or they don't have access to it," says Dr Bangar.

The contrast with Britain could hardly be greater, where the NHS is currently gathering together enough stock of Tamiflu to immunise all 60 million of us.

It makes you feel humble. And more than a little guilty.