An stringent and comprehensive policy needed to addresses varied aspects of healthcare delivery
AMN /New Delhi
As per a recent study by Lancet, India ranks 145th among 195 countries in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare, behind its neighbors like China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan. Although India’s improvements on the healthcare access and quality (HAQ) index hastened from 2000 to 2016, the gap between the country’s highest and lowest scores widened (23•4-point difference in 1990, and 30•8-point difference in 2016).
India also performed poorly in tackling cases of tuberculosis, rheumatic heart diseases, ischemic heart diseases, stroke, testicular cancer, colon cancer, and chronic kidney disease among others. There are also large disparities in subnational levels of personal HAQ in several countries, especially China and India.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Healthcare is not an electoral issue in India and government investment in public health has been very poor – at just about 4.7% of its GDP. Access to quality and timely healthcare is a universal right. However, many Indians, especially those below the poverty line, are unaware of this very right. There are hospitals where BPL families can avail treatment at no cost. But the fact that there is no redressal mechanism to make the aware of these options exacerbates the problem and they end up paying out of their pockets. Then there are issues such as poor management, corruption, accountability, and ethics which compound the problem. States such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala can serve as examples. In these, health services are part of the electoral mandate, and therefore, the quality of services is better.”
Part IV of the Constitution of India talks about the Directive Principles of State Policy. Article 47 under part IV lists the “Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health”.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “The need of the hour is an urgently integrated action on health care to make it universally accessible and affordable at the same time. This will not only help address the health needs but also have a positive effect on poverty and growth levels. A strategy that makes citizens more competitive and act as an asset to the country’s growth is what is required at this juncture.”
While the demand for access to better and quality healthcare services continues, each one of us has a responsibility to take care of ourselves.
• Develop healthy habits including eating, sleeping, and exercising right.
• Do not overdo anything. From drinking to using the cell phone, everything must be in moderation.
• Follow ancient wisdom. Do Yoga and Meditation for your mental and spiritual wellbeing and maintain equilibrium. Allow your body to heal itself.
• Get periodic checkups done. Early detection of most health problems can help in correcting lifestyles to slow the degeneration process and lead a longer and healthier life.
• Both active and passive smoking are harmful for the body. In addition, manage your blood cholesterol, blood pressure as well as diabetes and maintain optimum weight. Limit your salt intake.