Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Is Your Doctor Minting Money?

Is Your Doctor Minting Money?

Our lives hang upon the nook of our health. It is the utmost vital substance that cannot be nonchalantly ignored or blithely snubbed out for any price. Healthcare is at the crest of all human requisites. And it is the duty of respective governments to shoulder the burden of providing the called-for health necessities of their people. Because without health, a state will be like an emaciated torso and that there is nothing more a state could provide to its subjects than a better healthcare. We know of big kings and emperors of ancient times who had to face the thrashing of their enemies only because of the ignorance towards health of their soldiers that followed them for a long time. Today, the human race is far intelligent and every soul is concerned more or less of its health.

Developed countries of the world have endeavored to promote the healthcare of their people to the fullest possible. 44 percent of health is public funded in the USA, 95 percent in countries like Sweden and 75 percent in all the market economies of the world. And India - it has a meager 22 percent of its health care public funded. The attention paid and the sincerity applied for providing public healthcare by the Indian government is conspicuous to all eyes.

Indian government swear umpteen oaths of ameliorating standards of government hospitals and public healthcare during each five-year plans, but did they ever achieve it is a million-dollar question. Healthcare in India is like a thatched hut in the centre of a desert. The wretched condition of such healthcare can be easily imagined. Everything beginning with the hygiene, availability of doctors, condition of washrooms, water and food supply to the patient in a public Health centre is beyond worse.

It was early 2012 when the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that the government would work towards providing Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all. The Prime Minister proposed health care be added as a fundamental right whether one is above or below the poverty line. In the following months two ambitious programs were announced - the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) and Free Essential Medicines that would both cost the country thousands of crores of rupees. So, when at the end of the year representatives of various states came to a negotiation over the UHC, consensus was nowhere to be found. The idea didn't take off for various reasons, mostly vague.

In India, spread throughout the rural areas is around 800,000 Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) or community health workers. But such a fate, they are also ill-trained. Instead of being frontline health activities at the village level, they run the risk of blundered identification of disease signs at the primary level. The same is the case with the Primary Health Centers (PHCs), the heart of regional primary health care. It is a stated fact that the problem here is not lack of funds, but the will to implement. It is really surprising that almost three-fourths of the country's health budget goes into addressing PHC concerns through the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). The country spent close to 21000 crores in 2012-13 alone.

The healthcare structure in our country is also overburdened by the exorbitant population. Family planning programs are redundant. The death rates have declined, but the birth rates continue to be high in many states, India also faces the twin epidemic of emerging infectious diseases as well as chronic diseases. The former is related to poor implementation of the public health programs and the latter to demographic transition with increase in life expectancy. Economic deprivation in a large segment of population further results in poor access to healthcare. Also the impecunious educational status here leads to non-utilization of the scanty health services available and increase in avoidable risk factors. India miserably ranks a low 115th amongst world nations according to the Human Development Indicators.

All reasons here culminate to prove that commercialization of the healthcare is only better means available to health for when it comes to health, wealth appears a wee factor. The private health organizations cater to a better infrastructure and technology when it comes to the health sector. They are well-equipped unlike the PHCs. They have a spick and span environment, where illness can really recuperate. They provide better logistics - prompt ambulance and emergency services that one cannot at all expect from a government hospital. Commercialization has led to better management and effective utilization of all resources. And because of the market competition in the health sector, cost effective and quality solutions are all-pervasive. Also due to the commercialization of healthcare, number of doctors has increased benefitting patients in return.

Healthcare is increasingly becoming a market sector now. The international health policy is also in favor of the commercialization of the healthcare because government itself cannot invest more money in hospitals. Therefore it's better to give responsibilities to the private people. Today, the international trade in health services has seen a great escalation. There's been migration of healthcare personnel throughout the globe, liberalization and privatization of healthcare markets and increasing involvement of multinational companies. In India, numerous NGOs and private organizations like Manipal, Aravind are currently doing well in the healthcare sector. With more MNCs showing their interests towards the commercialization activities in the health sector, it will certainly prove a boon for the people. The government must also learn from it and abjure its lethargic attitude towards such a subtle thing like health. It must at least try improving the conditions of the government hospitals because there are still people who are always in the black hole and are not able to reap the benefits of commercialization. It should not be forgotten that the body is the only place where people live and health is what preserves it.



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