What Medical Aid Really Means for the Needy

Healing the Poor

Ramtek Medical Camp – Sunday July 13, 2014

The poor in our country follow the health care system offered by state governments. Our Constitution makes it mandatory for States to raise “the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health” as part of its primary duties. But this is hardly happening save for token services. And so alongside the public health sector it is the more popular private medical sector which is actually used more. This is true both in urban and rural settings.

Our public health care sector appears to be for namesake only and it is really true that we do not have enough hospitals, doctors, medical staff, medicines or ambulance services available. We deplorably lack quality of care and accessibility to much needed medical care, especially for the poor. Mostly we are dependent on private medical care that is increasingly getting more unaffordable.

The planning commission which is on its way to being scrapped away soon, was involved in some way to regulate private health care providers. A report it came out with stated that “the transformation of India’s health system to become an effective platform is an evolutionary process that will span several years”. So access to quality medical care remains limited or unavailable especially in most rural areas.

Health issues in rural areas suffer from other maladies as well. Rural children below the age of three are found to be malnourished. Malnourishment is known to impede social and cognitive development of children reducing their educational and employment chances besides irreversibly affecting productivity. This aside we have also to contend with diseases like dengue fever, hepatitis, tuberculosis, malaria and pneumonia that are rampant. Poor sanitation and lack of safe drinking water are major issue affecting public health.

Rural India continues to live below the poverty line and it struggles for better and easy access to health care services. Having conducted continual health camps all through May to August 2014, HERD Foundation is well aware that health issues confront rural people in diverse forms. Dengue, malaria, uncontrolled diabetes, and badly infected wounds as also cancer are all part of the rural debilitating health scene. But the more serious underlying issue continues to be malnutrition, mother and child ill-health, anemia, sickle cell diseases and now increasingly psychiatric conditions.

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