“We have 45% children malnourished and infant mortality rate is even higher than Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The instigation of blame game has no place during adversities and clear-cut guidelines that should be adhered to and followed by everyone.”
Healthy nation is a wealthy nation, quality of life is an important factor that makes a nation healthy. A new ‘Empowerment line’ is proposed to fulfill eight basic needs of human beings in a report recently published by McKinsey Global Institute. Those are food, healthcare, education, sanitation, water, housing, fuel and social security to include clothing and entertainment. As per report 680 million Indians or 56% of the population lack the means to meet their essential needs. It also states that due to urban-rural divide 171 million urban residents (44% of urban population) and 509 million rural residents (61% of rural population) are below the empowerment line. As per a government survey three basic necessities of life are clear drinking water, electricity connection and sanitation. These are not available to 82% rural Indian households. According to the World Bank report 32.7% of the population of India is below the poverty line (International poverty line is USD 1.25 per day), and less than 68.7% survive on less than USD 2 per day. We have 45% children malnourished and infant mortality rate is even higher than Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Some of the reasons for this deprivation are lack of education and political will, corruption, planned too late and too little, mismanagement, unresponsive bureaucratic system and laid-back attitude of the public. There is a necessity to do introspection and see how other countries like China have progressed in a limited time frame. South Korea has been adjudged as the best healthcare system of 2021. The present government has launched many new initiatives which are to be taken at breakneck speed. We should not land in the situation of old wine in a new bottle. We have many health reports like the 1946 Bhore committee and 1962 Mudaliar committee etc. but we failed on all accounts by not implementing these recommendations. Health for All, National Rural Health Mission also failed as no impact analysis and accountability was done, due importance to healthcare was not in any govts’ agenda. The present pandemic has forced everyone to take healthcare seriously and many new initiatives to handle challenges have emerged. The COVID 19 with a lockdown of almost two years has changed the behaviour of everyone and we should take advantage of it to improve healthcare systems. Many schemes have been launched, the public should be made aware of its benefits and how to get these, and not advertise to make up a political image of leadership for self and their party. We have observed in the second wave of Covid as how badly the center and states have coordinated health care efforts which affected patients. The instigation of blame game has no place during adversities and clear-cut guidelines that should be adhered to and followed by everyone.
We need to create infrastructure for the health sector in a time bound manner and can not think of another disaster to wake us up out of slumber. A broad-based group should be created to look up all issues, lapses and recommend a comprehensive healthcare system for the country. As India is trying to be an emerging power in the world, let us show the way in the health sector too. It has already done so in vaccine and vaccination against Covid 19 lauded by WHO.
We as a nation should evolve new healthcare systems and policy based on challenges, experiences and learning from other countries. A revolutionized approach backed by technology is required to deliver qualitative healthcare for all at optimum cost.