Category: Health

Representational image. ReutersEven as Delhi hobbles back to Net Maddy  normalcy after the chikungunya and dengue health scare that reached endemic proportions last month, the national capital faces yet another health exigency in the form of bird flu.
The government is monitoring bird sanctuaries and the Gazipur Murga Mandi, the sole meat market that caters to the entire city.
“Samples from the mandi and other sources have been sent for testing to Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL), Jalandhar and High-Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal and the results are expected on Saturday,” a government source said.
It remains to be seen if the rickety health services system of the city (and the country) — that was found wanting just a few weeks back during the dengue and chikungunya outbreak had hit the population — will be prepared enough to deal with a crisis if any.
Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters
However, ever since the first outbreak of bird flu in India a decade ago — in Gujarat and Maharashtra in February 2005 — India has never had a human case of H5N1 viral infection even though there has been an outbreak of the disease almost every other year.
Delhi’s development minister Gopal Rai has requested the citizens to not panic as the virus doesn’t seem to have entered the food chain yet.
Despite the minister’s reassurance, is there no cause for concern?
A stroll around any area of the city is enough proof that municipal services in the city are not at their international best, as should be the case considering that Delhi is the capital of a nation that is being heavily promoted as an investment destination globally. Is Delhi ready to take on the world as a global capital or is just another Third World city that has more negatives than positives?
The Supreme Court too has come down heavily on the AAP government on garbage piling up in the city and for poor sanitation. The apex court has expressed concern over bird flu scare in the national capital.
While the bird flu panic is slowly spreading, the experts strongly feel that it’s high time that the government should come up with an advisory with ‘dos’ and ‘don’s’ on bird flu.
“The central government should issue an advisory with ‘dos’ and ‘don’s’ to combat bird flu across the country. It’s not just limited to Delhi. District magistrates and district forest officials should be sensitized. Moreover, awareness regarding avian flu needs to be created especially for children, so as to avoid any panic,” Anand Arya, an environment expert, specializing on birds told Firstpost.
Source of avian (bird) flu scare
The scare of avian flu ( the official name of bird flu) originated in Delhi after the Delhi zoo reported over a dozen of dead birds on its premises. It was followed by the death of birds at Deer Park, Hauz Khas and near a water body at Sundar Nagar. Besides, local birds, migratory birds died in zoo premises. While the RDDL Jalandhar detected symptoms of the virus in the samples of carcasses of birds tested, Bhopal’s HSADL confirmed H5N1 virus in three birds. H5N1 is the virus that causes bird flu.
– Delhi Zoo: 12 birds found dead. (Of these three are confirmed bird flu cases).
– Deer Park: 5 birds found dead.
– Sundar Nagar: 3 crows found dead.
– Gwalior Zoo: 15 birds found dead. (The aerial distance between Gwalior and Delhi is only 285 km).
Source of Bird flu virus (H5N1)
Bird flu virus already exists in dormant state in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China and Russia border. It can become active. The other source is a migratory bird. The virus infects and kills wild birds and domestic poultry.
“Nearly 225 migratory species visit India every year and it starts in September. We get migratory birds in almost all the 7.57 lakh wetlands in the country. It’s serious if any of the flock gets infected,” said Arya.
Past incidents
– First confirmed and notified case of H5N1 outbreak in India was reported in Gujarat and Maharashtra in February 2005.
– The second outbreak — a major one was in March-April 2006 in Madhya Pradesh — where more than 10 lakh poultry birds were culled.
– In 2007, it was in Manipur, followed by West Bengal in 2008. More than 40 lakh birds were killed in Bengal.
– In the consecutive years, the outbreak occurred in Tripura, Odisha, Sikkim, Assam and Bihar.
– The last bird flu outbreak was reported in 2015 in Kerala.
– In 2005, 50-60 birds were found dead at Okhla Bird Park in Delhi, which created a panic. However, after post-mortem, it was found that the birds died after consuming poisonous feed used to catch fish.
– In India, no case of bird flu infecting human has been reported yet.
– Large-scale culling of poultry birds took place in a decade causing huge financial loss to poultry business.
Can I consume egg and chicken?
According to experts, no case of bird flu has been reported in poultry so far. It’s safe to consume properly cooked egg and chicken.
“Most bacteria and virus can’t survive high heat. Instead of consuming cold meat, it’s preferable to have properly cooked, roasted chicken and eggs in the form of boiled and omelet,” advised Arya.
What government has done so far?
– Delhi government has started a helpline number (011-2389 0318) where citizens can report cases of bird flu and seek help.
– A large number of samples has been taken from zoos, bird sanctuaries, and poultry markets and sent for testing.
– Municipal corporations have deployed teams to check flu.
– Delhi government is keeping a strict vigil on poultry market.
– Delhi minister Gopal Rai said that Delhi government is well-equipped with medicines to deal with the situation.
– Central Zoo Authority is conducting inspection of zoo enclosures.
– Delhi Zoo and Deer Park have been shut down.
Precautionary measures
According to medical experts, one shouldn’t touch a dead bird or the carcass and keep a safe distance. It should immediately be reported to authorities concerned.
Physical contact with bird droppings should be avoided, because any bird can be an infected one. Extreme care should be taken while cleaning droppings because most human infection is from close contact with sick or dead infected poultry or droppings.
– Any one suffering from fever must take medical advice.
– Avoid spreading of rumors and panic.

 

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AHMEDABAD: Dr. Ketan Desai, the new NetWork Posting president of World Medical Association (WMA), issued a strong warning about continued political attempts around the world to marginalise the autonomy and self-governance of the medical profession.

'Doctors can jointly create a World Health-Keeping Force' 3
“In many countries including Turkey , India, and the United Kingdom, there are continued political attempts to undo or marginalize the autonomy and self-governance of the medical profession,” Dr. Desai, who hails from Gujarat, told delegates from 40 national medical associations in his inau gural speech at WMA’s annual assembly in Taiwan on Friday .
“Regulation of clinical practice, framing of evidence-based standard treatment guidelines, defining and checking professional malpractice and medical education -professional independence is vital for all.The WMA must continue to be alert against government attempts to usurp professional independence through bureaucrats and politicians,” Dr. Desai, former presi dent of Medical Council of India (MCI), said. Dr. Desai also called for more protection for physicians, whether in war or civil conflict situations.

He also warned that professional honesty and integrity were at risk in many countries as physicians were prescribing drugs or referring patients based on `kickbacks’. “Physicians should not go by any financial or other consideration in referring patients to laboratories, pharmacies or opticians,” Dr. Desai said.
“There is a need to create a World Health-Keeping Force along the lines of the World Peace-Keeping Force.National medical associations could join hands and create such an `international health-keeping force’ under the aegis of the WMA,” Dr. Desai said.

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Informal practitioners, who On Dav operate without formal
Informal practitioners, who operate without formal medical training, form a majority of Indias rural healthcare workforce, addressing patients health care needs where government sources may be less accessible.
They treat patients with conditions that can be managed in a primary care setting, refer patients with serious conditions to higher level care, and diagnose and manage patients with chronic conditions.

However, it is contentious whether these practitioners should be integrated with the health system, and if so, what might be the best way.
The study, meanwhile, also suggests that training informal health providers can also help address the manpower shortage in the health sector.

HEALTH
“The low costs of training Planet Amend  imply that permanently hiring 11 additional fully trained MBBS providers into the public sector would be as costly as training 360 informal providers every year through this programme,” it says.
The study used a randomised evaluation methodology, by selecting 152 of the 304 informal providers from 203 villages in Birbhum to participate in the training programme.
“Using unannounced standardised patients (mystery patients) and clinical observations, researchers assessed the impact of the training on informal providers clinical practice. Further, researchers benchmarked these practices with those of public health providers in the same area,” the J-PAL said.
The West Bengal government has issued an order to train the first batch of 2,000 practitioners over a six-month period, which is in the process of being rolled out across 35 centres. Rural healthcare providers will be trained in batches of 50 by nurses teaching at nursing training centres across the state, J-PAL South Asia said.
“This study is not only relevant for West Bengal but for other states too, such as Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh; as the structure of the informal provider market is often found to be similar ?- both in terms of their widespread presence in the community and the knowledge gaps they face,” Banerjee said.
However, the training “did not lead to a decline” in the use of unnecessary medicines, antibiotics or injections among providers who were trained. Nonetheless, both trained and untrained informal providers were less likely to give unnecessary medicines and antibiotics relative to doctors in the public sector, the study further said.
“Finally, the training increased the patient load of the provider, and it is estimated that the resultant increase in revenue would allow the informal practitioners to recover the cost of the training in anywhere between 66 and 210 days,” it added. PTI KND SMN DIP

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NAVI MUMBAI: A day Our Planetary  after an elephant died during a film shoot on Friday, an initial finding of a post-mortem has shown that it had been ailing due to multiple stones in the gall bladder and liver. Animals rights activists also claimed that several notices had been sent to the owner of the elephant since 2013 over the poor health condition of two jumbos in his care.

The elephant, Roopkali alias Roopa was aged between 38 and 40. She was brought to Film City in Goregaon for a photo shoot. She collapsed and died before the shoot could begin. A detailed medical report listing the cause of death will be released within a couple of days.
An autopsy was conducted by veterinary surgeon of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Dr. Shailesh Pethe, and a pathologist from Bombay Veterinary College. Their preliminary report states: “The cause of death seems to be multiple gall bladder and hepatic calculi (stones) leading to hepatic failure and toxemia.” In simple words, this means that there were stones in the gall bladder and the liver, leading to liver failure and internal poisoning.

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Activists expressed shock that the elephant was being made to work for a film shoot despite having such a serious ailment. “The preliminary findings of the post-mortem clearly indicate that Roopkali was seriously ill, but was still taken for a photo shoot,” said activist Pawan Sharma of Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare. “We will ask the forest department to lodge a complaint against those responsible.”
Another activist, Sunish Subramanian of Plant and Animals Welfare Society, said that the elephant owner, SabashankarPandey who lives in Dahisar, had been issued notices by Animal Welfare Board of India and the forest department over the last three years, threatening to cancel the licence of his elephants, Roopkali and Laxmi, due to poor health. “But he managed to keep their licenses,” said Subramanian. He claimed that Pandey had assaulted him in 2014 when he objected to the use of one of his elephants at a religious function.

Chief conservator of forests, N Vasudevan, told TOI: “After we get the final autopsy report, appropriate action will be taken. We are also studying various documents and certificates that Pandey has relating to the elephant.”
Secretary of Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Lt Colonel JC Khanna, said, “Generally speaking, movement of elephants has been curtailed on the city streets following a high

 

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If you’re looking for ways to get in shape for better mental health, then this article is for you. The first step to getting in shape is figuring out your body type. Once you know what that is, you can focus on building a workout routine that fits your needs. In this article, I’ll share with you all the details you need to know about your body type, so you can set a goal for yourself that will allow you to achieve your fitness goals. You’ll also learn how to keep motivated and stay focused on your goals, which are the keys to achieving them.

Mental Health

We are often told to exercise to be healthy. Exercise is an essential part of good mental health. But we rarely hear about the importance of exercise for good mental health. When people are exercising, they are often doing so to lose weight or to improve their physical appearance. This isn’t always the case, however. There are many benefits to exercising, even if you are not trying to lose weight or change your body shape. These include increased energy levels, improved self-esteem, and better emotional health.

The Benefits Of Exercise

Exercise isn’t just a healthy habit—it’s also an effective way of managing stress and improving your mental health. Here are some reasons why exercise is good for you and how you can get started. Exercise is good for your mental health.

When you work out, it feels good to release endorphins—the body’s natural painkillers—and your brain releases serotonin, a feel-good hormone. But if you don’t stretch first, your muscles can get tight and sore. The best way to prevent this? Stretch every day. Your body should be tried daily, and there are many ways to do it. For example:

Exercise And The Brain

Exercise is proven to be an effective tool for improving your brainpower. It is suitable for your physical health and improves your overall mental health. The following are some benefits of exercise and how it affects your brain.

– Exercise increases the flow of oxygen to your brain, which improves your memory and concentration.

– Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which can relieve stress and anxiety.

– Exercise reduces the levels of cortisol, a hormone that can cause feelings of stress and anxiety.

– Exercise improves blood flow, which can help prevent strokes.

Exercise can strengthen your immune system, which will help you fight off diseases like the flu and colds.

– Exercise makes you feel more relaxed and happy.

The Importance Of A Healthy Diet

1. The Importance Of A Healthy Diet Diet is one of the most important aspects of staying healthy, including maintaining a healthy weight. If you want to lose weight, you need to have the proper diet. A healthy diet will help you avoid eating the wrong foods, which can lead to weight gain. Here are some things to think about for a healthy diet.

2. Choose Your Food Wisely When you choose your food, you want to avoid high-calorie, low-nutrition items. This includes foods high in refined carbs, such as cakes and pastries. You should also avoid fast food or anything that is fried. This will keep your calorie intake down, but it’s not exactly a healthy option.

3. Choose Healthy Fats Fat is an essential nutrient, so you must get enough of it in your diet. However, you don’t want to consume too much of it. Too many fats can lead to heart disease and obesity. Therefore, you want to limit your consumption of unhealthy fats.

4. Consume More Protein Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, and it can help you build muscle. If you want to lose weight, you need to eat more protein than otherwise.

5. Include Whole Foods are an excellent option for a healthy diet. These are foods that haven’t been processed. They’re still the whole food, often high in fiber. You can also include these foods in your diet to boost your energy levels.

Exercise for mental health

If you’re looking for ways to get in shape for better mental health, then this article is for you. You can do several things to get in shape for better mental health. You can start by identifying your body type. There are four basic body types, and they determine how your workouts should look. You’ll need to learn the basics of each class so you can build a routine that works for you.

Exercise and stress management

For most people, the idea of working out is a struggle. It’s a chore they’d rather avoid at all costs. But there are ways to make exercise fun and rewarding. Here are some tips on how to get in shape for better mental health.

Workout for better mental health

When we think of “getting in shape,” we usually mean “building muscle.” But the benefits of working out are much more than just building muscles. Research shows that exercise improves the physical and mental health of people. It can also enhance sleep quality and help you live a longer, happier life. While it’s possible to get in shape without working out, you will get a lot more benefit from it. You may also find that working out helps you achieve your fitness goals faster.

Take supplements for better mental health.

The best way to improve your mental health is to change your mindset. How we view our bodies, minds, and the world around us shapes how we feel and behave. If you want to feel more happy, motivated, confident, and calm, start by changing how you think about yourself. I’m not perfect. I’m a failure. I’ll never amount to anything. I’m not worthy of love. I’m not attractive. I’ll never be successful. I’m an embarrassment. I’m nothing. I’m worthless. I’m not good enough. I’m a loser. I’m a failure. I’m a mistake.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fitness Helps Mental Health

Q: How can exercise help someone with mental health issues?

A: You need to be fit to take care of yourself, and when you are healthy, it makes you feel better emotionally. When I started modeling, it helped me become more confident. It gave me the strength to look at my flaws and learn how to change them.

Q: What are some of the most common fitness challenges for someone who has mental health issues?

A: One of the most common fitness challenges for someone with mental health issues is taking the time to exercise. You may have difficulty getting motivated because you are not feeling well, but you should always strive to get up and move!

Q: What do you like most about working out?

A: I like working out because it makes me feel better about myself. I can see how much weight I have lost and how better I think.

 Top 11 Myths About Fitness Helps Mental Health

1. You must be perfect at something to get mental health benefits from fitness.

2. You must have a lot of time to do exercise.

3. You must be able to devote yourself totally to fitness.

4. You must be very active in physical activity.

5. You must eat right to improve your mental health.

6. You must be healthy to get mental health benefits from fitness.

7. You must be physically strong to get mental health benefits from fitness.

8. You must be very fit to get mental health benefits from fitness.

9. You must be young to get mental health benefits from fitness.

10. You must have lots of energy to get mental health benefits from fitness.

11. You must be very motivated to get mental health benefits from fitness.

 Conclusion

If you want to build a website, you need a great idea, a clear vision, and a solid plan. But it would be best if you also executed well, which means you need to have some experience and training under your belt. If you’re looking for a web designer who can deliver beautiful websites that are easy to navigate and user-friendly, I recommend checking out the portfolios on my website.

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CHENNAI: The cyber-crime wing Owner Business of the Chennai city police on Friday registered two separate cases against social activist K R ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy and his assistant, Fatima, for allegedly spreading rumors about the health condition of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa+ who is undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai.

The police registered cases against Ramaswamy and his assistant based on the complaints filed by activist Kishore K Swamy and AIADMK worker Vijaya Raj.

Jayalalithaa's health Case

The police booked them under sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505 (1) (b) (with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public) and 505 (c) (with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offense) of the Indian Penal Code.

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The police have registered 58 cases against people for their posts on social media+ about Jayalalithaa’s health condition. They have arrested eight people so far, the latest to be arrested being a 28-year-old shopkeeper in Tuticorin identified as Sagayam.

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The county of Northumberland Page Design Hub in north England – known for quality and integrated healthcare – has signed a memorandum of understanding to share expertise as part of the Indo-UK Health Programme linked to the Narendra Modi government’s Smart City project. The Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council signed the MoU with Indo-UK Healthcare Pvt Ltd (IUHP), announced here on Tuesday.

The area is reputed to provide some of the best and fully integrated services in Britain’s National Health Service. The model creates a seamless experience for patients by integrating acute hospitals (including emergency services), community services, and care delivered at home. “This is an important milestone in our vision to transform the health of millions of Indian citizens. Northumbria provides outstanding high-quality integrated health and social care for its residents,” Ajay Rajan Gupta of IUHP said.

Healthcare

“This is exactly the experience we need to take forward our own plans. We want to take the very best that the NHS has to offer across to India, and there is no doubt Northumbria is the best at what it does.” The Indo-UK Institute of Health program is considered one of the world’s largest healthcare initiatives. It aims to transform the provision of quality healthcare and medical education services across India. The program will deliver a staged rollout linked to the Smart City project across 100 cities and involve 11 Indo-UK Institutes of Health Media cities and 89 Indo-UK Clinics.

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Daljit Lally of the Northumberland County Council said: “India has one of the largest populations in the world, so the pressures on its healthcare system are enormous. Whilst our primary goal is to share how we have developed such a pioneering approach to delivering integrated care in Northumberland, I do not doubt that we will also learn a great deal which will benefit the NHS.”

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GURGAON: After Haryana Civil Medical Services (HCMS) Association doctors at government hospitals threatened to go on indefinite mass leave from October 27, workers under the National Health Mission (NHM) have also called an indefinite strike from October 25.

It’s yet another challenge for a government Page Design Pro that is gearing up to launch a year of celebrations to mark Haryana’s golden jubilee.

Now, health workers call indefinite stir for pay parity 10

In a Saturday evening meeting, the NHM workers decided to launch a massive protest from October 25. NHM employees have been demanding permanent jobs in the state health department. “The state government has been ignoring our demands for the last 18-20 years,” a statement from NHM Haryana said.

Although NHM employees are hired after going through a proper interview procedure like in permanent doctors, they do not get permanent status, according to NHM workers. “We want the government to initiate the process to make all NHM employees permanent. We want salaries on a par with those of the permanent employees,” the statement said.

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Dr. Atul Gijwani, a general secretary of NHM Haryana, told TOI, “It is the gross injustice. We have been working for the last 18 years dedicatedly in the health department. Still, we are not entitled to equal pay and many benefits that permanent employees get in the department,” Gidwani said.

There are 12,000 NHM workers in Haryana, of which 650 are in Gurgaon. NHM workers serve at all levels, right from doctors to Class IV workers. The NHM program was started in Haryana in 2005 under National Rural Health Mission. Chief medical officer Pushpa Bishnoi remained unavailable for comment.

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Obese people risk getting diagnosed with Page Design Shop heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, and other disorders if they are discriminated against in society, finds a study conducted by an Indian-origin researcher.
The study suggested that those who experienced weight discrimination over a 10-year period had twice the risk of high allostatic load — the cumulative dysfunction of bodily systems from chronic stress.

The researchers focused on respondents who regularly reported experiencing discrimination because of their weight and asked whether they were treated discourteously, called names, or made to feel inferior.

“It is a pretty big effect. Even if we accounted for health effects attributed to being overweight, these people still experience double the risk of an allostatic load because of weight discrimination,” said Maya Vadiveloo, Assistant Professor at the University of Rhode Island in the US.

Discrimination against obese people may increase health risks 12

According to the researchers, the findings, published in the August issue of Annals of Behavioral Medicine, expose flaws in society’s weight control approach. “Our paper highlights the importance of including sensitivity and understanding when working with individuals with obesity, and when developing public health campaigns,” Vadiveloo said.

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People who experience weight discrimination often shun social interaction and skip doctor visits, the study reveals.
“There is so much shame around food and weight. We need to work together as a nation on improving public health and clinical support for individuals with obesity and targeting environmental risk factors,” the researcher said.

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Odisha’s Institute of Medical Sciences and Planet reporter  SUM Hospital mishap appears like a shrill alarm. The country’s comatose health system is in desperate need of a lifeline. The hospital accident should not be considered another negligence in India’s long history of medical tragedies. Hospitals cannot be graveyards.
Is Right to Health the answer to all our ills? Will medical disasters end once every citizen enjoys healthcare as a fundamental right?

In its draft National Health Policy 2015, the NDA government has proposed a “National Health Rights Act, which will ensure health as a fundamental right, whose denial will be justifiable.” Undoubtedly, the merits of such legislation cannot be denied. Countries like Brazil and Thailand got more teeth to implement universal healthcare due to such laws. We also have the success stories offered by our own Right to Education Act (2010) that have contributed substantially to the increasing literacy rates and making education more accessible and inclusive.
But the road to legislation still appears very long and may not address all the health system’s challenges. The SUM Hospital tragedy has once again put the spotlight on the government’s commitment to healthcare.

According to the World Health Organisation, India accounts for 21 percent of the world’s global burden of diseases. It witnesses the highest number of maternal, newborn, and child deaths in the world. Nearly 36 percent of Indians suffer from depression in a nation that has 0.47 psychologists per million people. For an Indian, the probability of dying, between ages 30 and 70, from four major non-communicable diseases (cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes) is close to 26 percent. One World Bank report (2010) even argues that we lose close to six percent of our GDP every year due to premature deaths and preventable illnesses.

Odisha SUM Hospital fire

The SUM Hospital fire has exposed the fragile health system of our country. Initial investigations have revealed that this super specialty hospital did not have a fire clearance certificate even though it has been operational for almost a decade. Its website claims that it provides “global standard health care services,” yet the 750-bed hospital did not have a functional sprinkler system to fight the fire. Its staff, too, was untrained to handle an emergency of that scale and magnitude.

Many hospitals across the country (several private and some government) lack functional sprinkler systems. For decades, we have been struggling with overcrowded, understaffed, poorly maintained, and appallingly unhygienic government hospitals. Twin-sharing of beds is today an accepted norm in many government hospitals.
Since the early 1990s, the private sector has been touted as the only alternative to India’s healthcare crisis. But in the absence of a clear regulatory mechanism, private hospitals’ performance has been both terrible and terrifying. In 2011, nearly 90 people died in a huge fire in AMRI Hospital, a Kolkata private hospital. In June 2016, an inter-state kidney racket was busted in Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. In September 2016, a private hospital and two orthopedics were asked to pay Rs 25 lakh to a patient who had suffered 40 percent disability due to medical negligence.

A healthcare system is not just about accessing hospital care. It is also about identifying strategies to reach certain, definite health goals. These strategies may involve multiple services/activities ranging from prevention of diseases (immunization campaigns), insecticide spraying against vector-borne diseases, printing horrific pictures on cigarette packets to deter smokers, ensuring safe abortions, and keeping a drug check pricing, and even distributing condoms. A health system has multiple stakeholders – policymakers, medical practitioners, health volunteers, industrialists, researchers, nurses, midwives, alternative medicine practitioners, and most importantly, patients.

In recent years, successive governments have demonstrated their inability to grasp the health sector’s key challenges – making healthcare universal, of better quality, and thereby reducing inequality.

Since 2000, there is a growing concern about the government’s dwindling commitment to providing basic healthcare to its citizens. Take India’s expenditure on health. It is just four percent of GDP, and public expenditure is only 1.2 percent of GDP. This implies that the private sector meets between 60-70 percent of the population’s medical needs.

The proposed National Health Policy has made no radical shift in its budgetary allocations. The current government has proposed 2.5 percent of the GDP (WHO recommends 5 percent for a better health system) as a “realistic” figure to achieve health goals. This implies that even after 70 years of independence, tribal regions are likely to be neglected, and basic immunization services will continue to be inadequate for urban and rural poor.

In its much-debated World Health Report 2000: Health Systems, Improving Performances, WHO ranked India as 112 out of 191 countries in health systems. France and Italy topped the list. A host of smaller countries – Ecuador, Syria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh – fared better than India.

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WHO has not conducted another such study, but experts state that the ranking would not be dramatically different today as successive governments have failed in protecting citizens against the financial costs of illnesses. Indians today struggle with huge “out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures” that do not even guarantee quality care. Even the National Health Policy 2015 admits that this expenditure is “catastrophic,” draining family incomes and neutralizing income increases.

Unless the government considers its citizens’ health as a critical national asset, the health system will remain unplugged.

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