“Health is wealth” is not a lost clause after all. It is only the interpretation that has changed in present day scenario. We cannot deny that our country has prospered in terms of healthcare. Some of the deadliest diseases can now be cured by our advanced hospitals and doctors. We are talking about inventions of medicinal miracles that we hadn”t ever dreamt of few years back. Have we started paying more heed to healthcare? Yes. But are these healthcare facilities within the reach of everyone? No. Good healthcare in our country seems to be possible only if one has wealth enough to accommodate living in high society homes and travel in luxury cars. If you reside anywhere near the slums or mediocre societies, you are at a risk of catching the ongoing virus or flu that could burn a big hole in your pocket when you look for treatment. Yes, there are free government run hospitals that are supposed to be helping these people. But are they really helping or they need help too?
Health is wealth:
1. Indian government has been doing its part in providing better healthcare to people. Free medicines and test centres are made accessible even in rural areas. These healthcare centres may lack advanced facilities but they are still in providing basic help to the needy. There was a time when healthcare was miles away from some village but the government and NGOs have been incorporating as much as they could in making basic healthcare available to those in the most remote location of our country.
2. Few months back, we saw the outbreak of swine flu in New Delhi. Health was in jeopardy in the Delhi NCR regions. Even tests to examine the virus was scanty. It took days for people to even determine if they are at a risk of flu or not. But we cannot deny the rigorous measures taken to stop the spread of the disease, ways to ensure safety for all and easy scanning and treatment. Hence, there is hope for availability of healthcare facilities for all.
3. Dengue awareness is being increased in slums and other lowly areas. Treatment in public hospitals might not be at par in present day but there surely is hope as more and more government hospitals are being better equipped to test the disease. In the past few months there have been reports of dengue death toll on those being treated at private hospitals where detection of disease was slow and led to multiple organ failure before the patient could be shifted to government hospitals.
4. There was scarcity of beds to fight dengue in Delhi to which the government acted fast to add 200 new beds at the hospital to take in more dengue patients for proper treatment. The health minister also went ahead to meet representatives of School Management Committee (SMC) with the agenda of spreading dengue awareness in 1,100 government schools in Delhi.
5. We could all blame MCD for being irresponsible towards their preparedness to tackle the vector-borne disease in five years but the blame game would do no good if the citizens are not willing to contribute their part toward the prevention of dengue. Cleanliness drives cannot work to prevent the breeding of dengue mosquitoes unless each and every one of us do our part responsibly and keep the surrounding
clean and free of wastes.
6. Private hospitals are being ordered against overcharging from dengue patients and all hospitals including the government run dispensaries are ordered not to deny treatment to anyone who comes along reports fever and such symptoms. Humanity is not all lost. We may call it diplomacy for banking votes but counter active measures that are providing relief to the underprivileged is a good work our government has been doing.
7. India”s pharmaceutical sector is on rise and more than anywhere else in the world we have access to the most generic low-cost drugs. Not just for export but also for rural and free hospitals, these generic low-cost drugs have been a life saver for many.
Wealth is health:
1. The rift between rich and poor in our country has never been any less partial. Healthcare facilities like proper ambience for treatments and adequate care of patients is only possible in private hospitals. In government run hospitals, there is hardly scope for standardization of healthcare and cleanliness. The doctors at these free hospitals are irresponsible enough to leave maternity patients at the hands of nurse unless the situation calls for panicking.
2. India still spends only around 4.2% of its national GDP towards healthcare goods and services. The same is 18% in US. With a higher number of our population still residing in rural areas where healthcare is reserved to government dispensaries, there is greater chaos when viral spreads occur. They rely more on substitutable medicines and are at higher risks of worsening cases. Government makes programs for improving the living standards of people in rural areas and to make basic healthcare accessible to them but the fund issued under the plans are utterly lost between the middlemen. Only a part of the fund is actually put into the real cause while the rest is shared by those in charge. National Urban Health Mission and many such insurance benefits that are supposed to be of help to people in times of distress are quite inefficient in such times.
3. Infrastructure for healthcare facilities are scarce in most regions where they are highly needed. There is no proper care unit at most hospitals when crisis hits. The hospitals are not well prepared to tackle outbreaks such as the ones going on in Delhi. Commercialized hospitals are only meant to attract patients by showing them good ambience and advanced techniques for treatments. However, these hospitals too are not always equipped to handle certain cases which they still take up. Healthcare and the health of the patient is no more a concern of the doctors.
4. The death toll in dengue infected patients of Delhi is on rise. While the elite class is safe and secure within the clean environment of their homes and societies, we have the distressed half of the region struggling with grief stricken family members for they have no hope in neither the authorities concerned for providing them safe environment nor the government who has been talking of providing better treatments and care.
5. If you have ever visited a government run hospital or a dispensary in remote areas, you know what those people have to go through just to have a talk with the doctor about their health. While this may not be true for all, it is sad to see that some doctors in these hospitals wouldn”t even ask the patient to take a seat while trying to explain their grief; not to mention a long queue would be formed right inside the doctor”s chamber. Doctors are usually in a rush to get out of the hospital and run to their cosy homes or private clinics as some have known to be illegally running.
A country needs healthy citizens to prosper. Healthcare is the prime necessity and rights of citizens, without having to go through hassles. While we cannot say that healthcare in India is equally good for the poor and the rich, there is a silver lining above the clouds, promising a better healthier tomorrow. Only the government and the citizens work in unison to make India healthier and safer, the dream of clean India can come true. We need to stop complaining and do our part by knowing where we went lacking in taking care of our environment. Littered walls and dirt everywhere outside the waste bins is not where we can expect a better and safer tomorrow. What we give to nature comes back to us and the blame game wouldn”t do any good.