Healthcare System and Health issues in India

‘Health’ does not only mean the state of devoid of illness but rather it refers to the state of holistic health, hygiene and care; it is the state of overall balanced well-being therefore. Health care is the concern of every society, community, state and the nation because the public is an integral part of the society and if the people are not healthy and well in all the terms then how can a nation perceive a harmonious growth of its infrastructure. Health is wealth according to a very famous old saying.  Only healthy individuals can work efficiently and can contribute towards the proper functioning of the society. here it should be noted that while mentioning the term ‘health’ we are not only concerned with the physical aspect but there persist some other significant aspects which should be included into the broad category of health when it comes to enhance it, with all the possibilities and they are ; water facilities, nutrition, sanitation, hygiene and medical facilities. A society or a country cannot only be limited to just a one aspect and neglecting the others, in fact they all go together. When we are looking into the aspect of public health these above mentioned areas needed to be undertaken. A society and a country would be known as holistic healthy, only when it’s all major areas are covered properly.

HEALTHY PEOPLE ONLY CAN CONSTRUCT A HEALTHY NATION

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India is a developing country but there are many flaws being noticed when we talk about its public health. There is a lack of attention and concern over the major health issues, there are fewer facilities available and if somehow there are facilities then they are not properly provided and availed. Following are the major issues related to the public health of India:

  • Safe Drinking Water: Water is a fundamental need of human beings, without water life is just impossible but the water which human beings intake must be fully cleaned and safe so that it doesn’t make them ill. It should not be contaminated and dirty and enough safe for the drinking purposes. Approximate 85% of the rural population is dependent upon the ground water (rivers and wells) which is rapidly getting dirty due to the constant excretion of waste and garbage from the factories and general public. In urban areas as well the water is not safe, a lot of medicines are being added to the water to make it safer for drinking purpose, chemicals like arsenic and fluoride creating a threat to the public health in urban cities. Day by day the level of ground water is decreasing due to the unmanageable use of water like irrigation, in villages. Government has laid down a budget in cores to provide safe drinking water in rural areas.
  • Malnutrition: A proper functioning of a body wholly depends upon the adequate food intake. Three meals a day has been prescribed by the world health organization for a balanced growth of a human being. If the person is not able to intake three meals a day then it would surely affect the health in long run and the person may suffer from inadequate nutritional diseases. Around 47% of the Indian children are malnourished or underweight. Infant’s death rate in India is closely associated with this problem of malnourishment. Malnutrition causes serious health problems in infants and children under the age of three. It also affects a female to utmost, in her pregnancy period when a good diet must be given to her for delivering a healthy baby. Children who belong to minorities groups, SC and ST are more prone to malnourishment.
  • Poor Sanitation: Then sanitation and hygienic conditions are also necessary, because poor sanitation and hygiene creates serious parasitic bacterial infections and spreads germs that pollute the air and atmosphere which ultimately makes the public sick and suffering from many serious diseases. It has been estimated; that around thousand children under the age of five, die every day due to the serious diseases (diarrhea, hepatitis, typhoid) caused by poor sanitation. Approximate 70% of the household in India have no access to toilets and around 60% of the people including the rural population also, defecate in the open. Poor sanitation and less hygiene create good conditions for mosquitoes and flies that spread many dangerous diseases like malaria, dengue and typhoid.
  • Medical Sector: Medical sector is itself a separate area which requires attention. In India there is a huge gap between the facilities and their distribution. It is purely very tough to avail medical facilities and treatments in the public sector/ Government hospitals. Due to rapidly increasing gap between the rich and poor class in India, the poor public can only rush for free medical treatments in public hospitals hence there is a flood of poor class in government hospitals. One has to wait for not only long hours but for many months and sometimes years to avail the medical treatments at free of cost. In this complicated situation private sector has finally intervened and trying to provide the medical facilities through private hospitals and clinics. But to avail the facilities from such private hospital is not a child’s play. It rather demands huge amount of money and at least they are not meant for the poor public. Poor public cannot afford such expensive treatments hence the rich public is again privileged and the poor class is again being pushed in long queues of public hospitals.
  • High Infants Mortality Rate and Degraded condition of Females:  due to the improper immunization, poor healthcare, less medical treatments and malnutrition, approximate 1.70 million children die every year. Funds for immunization are not properly utilized which makes only 43.5% of the children fully immunized. There is a lack of awareness for children’s health care. The ratio of infant’s mortality is comparatively more in rural areas and poor families. During the pregnancy the females are not given proper care. Labour class women are more prone to many diseases and malnutrition. Also their health care is a big issue, poor families and women cannot afford to have proper food and treatments. A large number of women die during delivering the child due to the lack of medical aid and nurses.
  • Infectious Diseases:  today numerous of infectious diseases are spreading all over India. Few of them are truly dangerous that cost at even life. Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, Malaria, Diarrhoea, dengue fever, pneumonia, HIV-AIDS these are such dangerous disease that spread due to the bacteria, germs and viruses. These problems are caused by poor sanitation, poor medical aids, malnutrition, drinking unsafe water and lack of awareness. Initially Polio was also a major part of these diseases but in the recent years because of the constant efforts to make, India Polio free country, many good results have been witnessed. In the recent 2012 survey of Polio, India has been recorded as a Polio free country for the first time in its history.

India certainly needs to concentrate on the upliftment and modification in its fundamental infrastructure and framework. Public health includes each and every member of the society and that is without any discrimination between the poor and the rich. Each member should be able to avail the health care and should be provided safe atmosphere to live into. Only a healthy public can ensure a healthy development of the country. Hence following are the few suggestive solutions that can be implemented to elevate the area of health care in India, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

SAVE WATER AND IT WILL SAVE YOU :

a)      Under a limited distribution of water all around the country, there is also a huge wastage of it and the natural resources by getting dirty and contaminated faster day by day. Whereas in rural areas, people are nonetheless behind to spoil the water then in urban cities also water is misused and being wasted without any limit. Since there are very few water pipelines in the village and rural areas hence the public make use of rivers and wells for their small and daily routine chores. They wash clothes, take bath and defecate in the rivers and lakes which pollute the water fully and they have no other choice to re-use the same water for the drinking purpose also. Therefore there should be an increase in the number of proper water pipeline in the villages and remote areas so that at least the public can avail safe drinking water. There should also be a provision of wells where people can save water only for the drinking purposes. Timely cleaning of the wells and river should also be done.

b)      In cities, people should be very much aware for saving the water. Each drop of water is precious. There is a personal responsibility of each family and individual to save water and not to waste it without any use. Even in urban cities there are so many slum areas where water tanks supply water and they have around 2-3 common taps in their locality. Municipal Corporation should make more provisions to increase the water supply and should make provisions of more taps and water pipelines so that they do not feel the scarcity of water.

INCREASE IN PUBLIC TOILETS, SEWAGES AND PUBLIC HYGIENE :

a)      Poor sanitation is one of the causes that create serious health problems for the general public. First of all there should be a mentality to keep the city and the country; always clean. Due to illiteracy in villages the public is not well aware and mannered to follow the healthy guidelines, so in such a case more and more awareness and healthcare education should be spread among rural people. They should be encouraged to make toilets in their homes instead of using open space to defecate. The health organizations and government may organize health campaigns to educate people and to make them understand; the significance of hygiene and sanitation in daily life. They should be made aware towards the under-utilization of ground water and natural water resources. The more sanitation provisions are made among rural areas the better life conditions they would enjoy.

b)      In cities, public toilets should be increased, at least there should be 10-15 toilets within reach, so that the slum population and other poor people who have rare shelters can use those toilets regularly and hence do not make the city dirty and unhygienic. Roadside peeing should be banned and should also be fined by the municipal corporation. There should be good provision of toilets especially at the bus stops and fields.

c)       There should be regular cleaning of garbage and sewers by the municipal corporation. There should be a check on the leakage of any sewer near and inside the locality and city. People should not litter waste on the roadsides rather always use dustbins. There should be a number of dustbins employed on the roadside and especially at bus-stops and railway stations. People litter waste on roads because they do not find anything else to litter in. Hence, more dustbins should be kept on roadsides and streets.

d)      Funding for sanitation should be utilized properly. Government should keep a check and record that whatever funds were provided for the sanitation and cleaning process, have been utilised properly or not? The supervisor should be much more concerned and attentive towards the growth of cleanliness in the city. One should always understand that a city or a country is like his/her home. If we are making our city unclean, then we are not behaving civilised and indirectly we are ruining our home only.

MEDICAL INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS TO BE TRANSPARENT :

a)      Suffering from a disease is not so much painful for a lay man than availing the treatment of it from a public hospital. It is like a tough struggle for a poor patient and if he/she is enough lucky then the struggle could be little easy. Treatment under a public hospital is not a cheesy task; it involves lot of efforts right from getting a prescription to consulting the doctor personally. There is a need of organizing the public, in the hospitals. The genuinely urgent patients should be treated first. Their treatment should not be delayed. There is so much of trafficking and stealing of medical tools, medicines and equipments in the public hospitals which should be checked and banned fully. The medicines and tools which are provided by the government are for the public welfare and hence general public deserve to avail those medicines. The internal employees who commit such a crime should be punished and penalized.

b)      The medical facilities and treatments of private hospitals should be made approachable and accessible to common people as well, besides entertaining the middle and upper class group of the society. However the medical treatment is so much expensive because private hospital’s owners have to reimburse their investment that is why they set the treatments and medicines at such expensive rates. But there should be some provision for the poor class as well. Like the private hospitals and private practitioners should keep few days in a month when the poor people can also avail good treatment at affordable prices. There should be a human and noble cause attached to this effort.

c)       Unauthorised practitioners, clinics and even hospitals should be banned and in fact should not be given authority and liberty. But the government should give some incentives to the doctors and researchers who are doing well for the society and giving some worth and new techniques and off course serving the public honestly.

AWARENESS HELPS IN UNDERSTANDING THE DANGEROUS SIDE OF DISEASES :

a)      Why are infectious diseases increasing in India day by day? Today every 10th and every 100th person is suffering from tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS respectively. People feel ashamed and hesitant in talking, discussing and even disclosing these diseases with anyone. The one who suffers from these dangerous diseases is not supposed to be a victim but a culprit. Families, relatives and society perceive such patients and inferior and sometimes start avoiding and discriminating with them. But here government and NGO’s have a big role to play. There should be numerous of campaigning and awareness programmes, organized in each and every part of the city and country. There is a deliberate need to organize such programme in villages and remote areas. People should be aware and educated regarding the actual description of these diseases. They should be made aware of the disadvantages of suffering and neglecting such diseases. People should know about the causes of such problems. There must be a wide awareness and alertness among the people that; it is their duty to make their family, society and country as ‘Disease Free’.

b)      People should be made aware of the civilized mannerism and importance of personal and social hygiene. NGO volunteers and social workers can spread such awareness very easily. Such awareness is very much needed in the rural areas where the personal hygiene plays not much important role. Through personal counseling and street plays this task can be implemented well.

GOVERNMENT NEEDS HONEST AND NOBLE BUREAUCRATS

When the person in charge or authority is not concerned with the welfare of the public then the subordinates are no one to be blamed. It is the person who has the authority, should play an honest and noble role for the society. Hence government should appoint strong, disciplined and honest bureaucrats who can supervise the administrative functions of the society with a careful eye. Facilities are properly provided, there is a proper distribution of the funds and amenities among the public welfare organizations; are some major points the bureaucrat should keep in mind.

General public is equally responsible as the Government, for making the public health care better for the society. There is a need to awaken that flame of responsibility and accountability among the public where they begin to feel that they are also responsible for maintaining the standards of health care. Government needs aware public who is acknowledge of its rights and the facilities that it deserves. There should be a sense of duty among the people that keeping the country clean and safe is also their commitment towards the betterment and development of the country. Once the general public is acquainted, it becomes much easier for the government to implement the plans and policies of health care. And the day when people of the country would understand that how much it is important to be aware, educated and alert, that day onwards health issues would start reducing.

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