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.

Life in Monsoon in Rural India – HERD of the Matter

Our rural areas are full of scenic lakes and hills that come alive especially in monsoons. One cannot but reflect on the misty, cloudy terrain that unfortunately affects the fate of rural people who must live through the messiness of the Great Indian Monsoons. Even as the farmers rely heavily for their crops and soil on monsoon’s benevolence, yet the cascading sheets of heavy downpours wreak havoc on ordinary mortals.

Nearly 70% of the annual precipitation comes down between June and September and while it bodes well for farmers for their harvest and monetary safety, yet an excessive amount brings out woeful suffering, disease and disaster. Just as the heat of the stifling summer ends with the first torrid showers, the earth gets ready for the rainy season that transforms the landscape in a riot of greens. But for the people living out there, there is nothing romantic about the monsoons.

Common sicknesses – cold, cough, flu and diarrhea become major causes for physical discomfort and majority of the rural people additionally suffer through neglect or non-availability of proper medical care. What is worse is that such conditions can be readily contained through efficacious healthcare delivery, at low-cost too. But the plight of rural citizenry continues to suffer every year from this annual seasonal change.

Rains become breeding grounds for diseases – Malaria, Dengue, Encephalitis, Chikungunya and more. Add to this the dilemmas of pot-holes, open-tanks, clogged drains, flooded roads/fields and stagnant water bodies. This is the mosquito season. Flooding and leakage of sewage/drains add to hazards like contamination of food causing Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis A or even food poisoning during this season.

The season also sees people suffering from fatalities resulting from accidents and injuries while working in fields. Road accidents, electrocution due to water dripping or live electric wire contact, fall due to slipping, are all common occurrences.  Farmers just cannot afford to be sick during monsoon or else there will be no harvest. They actually work through sickness and pain all through the monsoons with no thought of health centers or hospitals.

HERD Foundation’s Monsoon Medical Camps are an attempt at providing relief and healthcare to the disadvantaged remote villagers living in the countryside, tilling the lands for us. We can all give a moment’s thought to their struggle for existence to live through it all. HERD Foundation continues diligently in offering healthcare services through its committed team of doctors, nurses, specialists, para-medics and interns to take care of the far-flung villagers carrying on valiantly in an intimidating season.