Health and medical care in the country

Health and medical care remains a major problem in the country which has a direct bearing on our economic development. At the outset, it is in the fitness of things that not only a problem is identified but it is discussed too. In fact, the first step towards resolving a problem and decision making process is to identify a problem and define it adequately with its wider ramifications. In fact, in literary parlance , a problem could be said to exist because of the actual or the present situation and the “what should have been” or the desired situation. The most important and sensitive topic , that of health care, diseases, relevance to or effects on the country’s development etc was eloquently touched by President Ram NathKovind recently while addressing a gathering on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences at Wardha Maharashtra.
This all could not be treated any lightly as the city of Wardha is known for social and political movements and two acclaimed and renowned names , those of AcharyaVinobhaBhave and Mahatma Gandhi immediately come into the mind . In this connection ,Bhoodan Movement and the starting point of ‘Bharat ChhodoAndolan’ as also the Paramdham Ashram and the Gandhi Ashram along with their cumulative contribution to social , cultural, spiritual and political fields, this city of Wardha has been witness to, cannot be ignored in any way. The social movements , in particular, had even in the contemporary period an inalienable part of fighting diseases and squalor as their priorities. Connecting health and medical care with movements started from historical city of Wardha was a natural corollary especially when inaugurating a premier Medical Institute by RashtrapatiKovind recently.
When we talk of comprehensive development of the country , we can never ignore the importance of health and the available structural apparatus to deal with it as also how much percentage of our annual GDP we were going to spend on providing reasonably adequate and quality medical care. Agreed, we have subdued to a larger extent , if not still fully conquered, diseases like the T.B, leprosy , measles etc and virtually controlled spread of epidemics as they used to be in the past but we are far behind on comparative international standards and even on parameters whether facilities were evenly available across the country especially in our rural sector. The problem is rather gigantic and poses challenges to our policy planners in the NITIAyog as also at other concerned levels when we find confronted with the stark fact that we carry 20 percent of the prevalence of the global diseases despite being 18 percent of world population.
The problem brings with it certain allied issues like growing population , Swashta or cleanliness cum sanitation deficit, non availability of clean drinking water, poor living conditions , mal-nutrition, pollution of environment and rivers and water bodies, menace of adulteration and the like which have a tremendous role to play in the entire scenario of management of health care and providing affordable medical facilities. Thrust of Prime Minister Modi on maintaining environmental cleanliness and taking care of personal hygiene by the citizens , right from 2014 by starting a nation vide cleanliness drive or Swashta Abhiyaan and envisioning open defecating less villages and other areas coupled with constructing of toilets in hundreds of thousands across the country,could never ever be ignored either as a mass social revolution or as one of the top measures towards prevention of most of the diseases . Less diseases mean less pressure on the available apparatus . The President referred to various aspects of the problem which need to be precisely identified, data collected, setting short term and long term goals, assessing alternatives and exploring possibilities of integration of different medical branches and lines of treatment, evaluation of massive investmentsneeds , legislative support to strict family planning and population control, launching war against abuse of drugs and narcotics and the like , would result in a turnaround of the position. We could do a great deal in tackling communicable, non communicable and other new emerging diseases (like we saw recently in Bihar and earlier, in parts of UP) only after taking into active consideration the challenge in holistic way.