What can India do to improve the Public Health System

'Health is Wealth' is one of the well-known proverbs that talk about the importance of health and being healthy. India, being a developing nation has so far excelled in a lot of fields and also lead and shared some remarkable actions in this world. But public health is something in which India needs a lot of improvement. India currently ranks 120th in the list of 169 countries in terms of medical efficiency and is behind other small Asian countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. 

Countries like Spain, Italy, Japan have better, well maintained public health systems which a developing and larger country like India, having a high population couldn't afford. Where did we go wrong? What can India do to improve its Public Health Systems?

Waste Disposal

Being the second most populous country of this world and one of the biggest platforms providing all outsourcing services to the world, a part of this nation is still a giant garbage heap. Even though a lot of organisations, NGOs have initiated a number of cleaning and awareness campaigns and the government has put in serious efforts to alleviate the waste-disposal problem, the volume of solid waste is increasing day by day and causing serious public health problems.

As of now, there is no such solution to get rid of all solid waste in an optimum way, but the most advisable solution would be encouraging the habit of recycling and reusing materials.

Disease Awareness Campaigns

Campaigns and other techniques used to spread awareness about a particular disease unlike urban and suburban areas, where people are informed about a cause or any such thing via social media or by other means, can be useful. Some of the suburbs and mostly the rural areas will be benefited by conducting these campaigns, informing the public about the do's and don'ts, teaching them precautionary measures providing necessary support for affected areas.

Normally, NGOs and other organizations, youth wings of political parties and other communities organize such campaigns to spread awareness naming general public and guiding them with necessary instructions like how to fight through both physical means like print media, pamphlets, mock drills and also online campaigns like memes through social media etc.

Anti-Pollution Measures

Adding to the problems of disposal of waste, top cities and urban areas of India have been facing the problem of pollution for a very long time. It seems neither the hike in fuel prices nor the price of vehicles had an effect on Indians, as air pollution caused due to the emission of gases from fumes by transport means is still posing a threat and the death toll is increasing year by year. 

As of 2017, India experienced 28% of deaths caused by pollution that summed up to 1.2 million!! Cities like Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida in Delhi are reportedly among the most polluted cities. A number of Anti-Pollution measures have been initiated, like odd-even days, planting and conservation of trees etc. which should be followed, accepted and their importance should be understood by the general public and that only can solve the problem of pollution.

Proper Sanitation

Day to day hygiene and sanitation plays an important role in the healthy lifestyle of an individual. While, at the same time, lack of adoption of proper hygienic methods, creates and spreads a number of infectious diseases. 

From women using unhygienic clothes instead of sanitary pads, rural areas that lack proper lavatory systems, to other unhygienic habits in a person serves as the cause of serious health disorders. These aren't considered as individual problems but as social issues, something that needs to be changed in the society, making a group of people aware about their actions.
Problems related to sanitation and public hygiene need to be addressed as a whole. The government and other non-profit organizations have started taking huge strides in this aspect and results have started to come. 

Factories / Mining

Many of the factors with mining sites and factories can be directly associated with the health conditions and health implications of the workers and residents living nearby. Even though their actions are limited by various government restrictions, most of them can't guarantee the same. When they create job opportunities for the residents, they are marked as signs of development and progress.

What next! As per the reports of National Geographic, 70% of industrial waste discharged into water bodies end up polluting them, causing major health implications.

Mining is always known as one of the major causes behind respiratory disorders faced by residents and workers involved. Mining apart from posing a direct threat to the health of an individual creates indirect risks as well by causing problems of deforestation, groundwater pollution, which add on to the health hazards. In various parts of the country, there were innumerable protests against mining and establishment of factories. This problem demands an optimum and balanced solution as undoubtedly industries are a sign of development. So, a well-balanced solution needs to be developed which achieves sustainable development. 

Other Factors

There are a number of other factors affecting the public health systems of India. Malnutrition is widespread among the children in a great number of rural areas of India due to non-availability, unawareness, negligence and poverty. Unavailability of medicines in rural areas and suburbs at right time worsens the health conditions of the affected. 

Awareness should be raised to vaccinate the kids at the right time to avoid risks in the future.
Last but not least, primary health centres to advanced multi-speciality hospitals play a very important role inside the public health system. Most of the primary health-centres and hospitals financed and managed by the state governments are the ones which face a lot of limitations compared to the private hospitals and dispensaries. Right from the quality of the infrastructural environment to the service and attention, quality of equipment used, availability of medicines, government hospitals lag behind the private ones by a big margin. Though the private hospitals are comparatively more expensive the pathetic condition of the government hospitals is a serious issue to be addressed.

In a country where the health of the public is measured by the wealth they own, these factors are the changes we need to make to the public health systems to bring about positive results.

- Ajay Sreeram

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What can India do to improve the Public Health System What can India do to improve the Public Health System Reviewed by EMN on July 12, 2019 Rating: 5

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