Alarming healthcare statistics

A question that is baffling contemporary societies, is how to meet the challenge of deteriorating healthcare services. The issue is comparatively less alarming in developed countries of the west. But taking into view the rising cost of medical services and the fast growing level of health consciousness among people, even some developed countries are feeling that the burden of meeting huge expenditure on public health should be partly shifted to the consumers and not left entirely to the care of the state. Developing countries are grappling with the situation.
It is difficult for an ordinary person to imagine what it means to provide medical facilities to an enormous population that India has. Evidently, we have to do a lot and for a long time before we are able to reach the standard of developed countries in the matter of healthcare. Union Health and Family Planning Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad recently addressed the 19th Annual Conference of Vascular Society of India at Jaipur and gave some alarming data about the state of public health in this country. He said that nearly 90 million people were at the risk of vascular diseases including stroke, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), carotid artery disease and aortic aneurysms.  Survey screening of 10 million persons of 30 years and above was conducted for diabetes and hypertension. Out of this, 7.27 % are suspected for diabetes and 6.44 % for hypertension. By any standards, this is a high rate of the two diseases and needs to be controlled.   According to the World Health Organization, of the 58 million deaths taking place across the globe, approximately 35 million were due to chronic non-communicable diseases. In India, NCDs like CVDs, diabetes, chronic obstructive lung disease, cancer and injuries have already become the dominant cause of disease burden contributing about 2/3rd of the total disease burden.
The Union Health Minister said that in our country only 59 doctors were available for 100,000 persons and this was very low proportion in comparison to developed countries. Despite many efforts of the Government we have sill a huge medical services deficit. It is evident that in order to reach the level of developed countries, we shall have to make extraordinary efforts first in providing sufficient number of medical colleges and institutions in the country and secondly in promoting medical education among the talented students. It is easy to say that we should have adequate number of medical colleges. But imagine the funds, the infrastructure and the faculties needed to make a medical college functional. Nevertheless, in annual budgets of the states, there is provision for new medical institutions. Besides that, the Union Government is also extending support to the opening of more medical training institutions, colleges and hospitals according to the norms it has set forth. Our country is in making, and given an atmosphere of peace, we hope that within a reasonable time, we shall be able to provide adequate number of doctors as are needed to fend for the vast population.
However, apart from this, there is need for bringing awareness on health matters to the vast population of this country. Even the educated people also stand in need of guidance and awareness. Since a large percentage of Indian population lives in rural areas, their awareness on basic healthcare matters is very limited. In our state, the condition is more disturbing. Illiteracy is one of the reasons why people at young age become victims of many avoidable diseases. We need to change our eating habits. Our youth have now begun to understand what the basic requirements of keeping good health are. This also includes keeping our environment clean and maintaining ecological balance. Contemporary society is forced to live a mechanical life leaving less time and space for living natural life. Living in crowded cities where air and sound pollution are the gifts of the era of technology, human beings are prone to many diseases. It signifies that some basic principles of healthy living and sanitation need to be adhered to when new towns and localities are creating as habitats for human beings. At the same time controlling the growth of population should also become part of healthcare because most of our problems stem from over-population. We also need to stop migration of rural population to the urban areas and this can be done by opening employment opportunities for the people in rural areas. This is true of the twin capital cities of the State as well. Unplanned urbanization has brought heavy burden on services and natural resources. We need to find a solution to these problems.

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