Health and healthcare are two separate issues which has not so direct relationship. Good health not only means the absence of disease, but a feeling of well-being or freedom from illness. The health of a given population is judged by their view of proper understanding, illness and healthy living; socioeconomic distinction; health services’ reach and finally the quality and cost associated with care.
On the other hand healthcare covers both medical and preventive care given by various government and private sectors to overcome ill-health. In our country, the healthcare sector is dominated by private companies creating a regressive effect. This is because healthcare is a system solely aimed for public good, which should not be regulated by market demand and utilization. And this cannot be ensured by private companies, but should be taken care by the Government only.
An ideal health care system should have:-
- Universal access (The health system should be equally accessible to every individual of the society)
- Sufficient access (Adequate number of hospitals/health centers for all)
- Inexpensive (fair distribution of cost to serve patients from every socioeconomic group)
- Competent and quality support staffs (one of the most important but neglected part of the health care system)
- Extra and specific attention to vulnerable patients (women, children, aged or disabled)
When we consider the above points our health care industry scenario is really disappointing. We do have many best technologies available. Our doctors are also among the best. But our infrastructure of paramedics, clinics and diagnostic centers are still lacking. We are way behind first world countries in this respect and need significant improvement. The major challenge is to build infrastructure to support patients with different socioeconomic backgrounds. We need a strong pool of paramedic staff and an environment which supports innovation. It is impossible to build a strong healthcare system base without enough research and in-depth study. So there is a need for more research grants in medical research from both government and private sectors.
Expensive and less effective ways of treatments are consuming the majority of healthcare expenditure in India. One third of household expenditure is going through medicines and surprisingly Indians are paying more for minor diseases compared to serious illness. Moreover, Indians are heavily overmedicated. Even in the extreme rural environment, the average visit of a person to a doctor is twice that of a U.S. citizen. Imagine the scenario of urban population! At least the educated people of India should come forward and reverse this situation. We should take out some time from everyday life and start educating people and more importantly, himself about health care and medication.
How does modern healthcare touch lives?
Even after 65 years of Independence the touch of the modern healthcare system is inaccessible to the general public as they have to bear up to 70% of the costs associated if not all. This expense is often beyond capacity even to the middle-income group. With growing health related issues in young Indians, affordable healthcare is the urgent need of India. The Herculean task of improving the health care system is a goal we have to reach and modern healthcare will then touch lives all over India. This is a dream we have to make real.