The government provides public healthcare which caters to people in villages and towns. This system is supported by private healthcare system. But healthcare facilities are inadequate in India.
One of the salient features of the Indian Constitution is the effort to establish a welfare state. The Preamble and the Directive Principles of State Policy make it amply clear that our goal is a welfare and socialist state through democratic means. This means that the government is expected to work for the welfare of the people in the spheres of education, health, employment, basic infrastructure, etc.
What is Healthy
Apparently, being healthy means having no disease. But actually it is much more than that. The factors that contribute to ill health like accumulation of stagnant water in the surroundings, lack of basic sanitation facilities, dirty surroundings, polluted air, etc. need to be eliminated for ensuring good health. If people do not get clean water and food and live in cramped conditions without ventilation; they are prone to illness.
Following factors are required to ensure good health:
- Access to clean drinking water
- Access to basic sanitation facilities
- Cleanliness in surroundings
- Clean air
- Nutritious food
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a national campaign by the government of India, covering 4041 statutory towns, to clean the roads, streets and infrastructure of the country. It was launched on 2 October 2014 at Rajghat New Delhi. It was earlier known as Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan.
Healthcare in India
We need appropriate healthcare facilities to prevent and treat diseases. Facilities include health centres, hospitals, ambulance services, etc. From the aspect of human resources, qualified doctors, nurses and good health professionals and workers are needed.
India has a large number of doctors, clinics and hospitals. The knowledge and experience in running a public healthcare system is considerable. The public healthcare system, hospitals and clinics are run by the government and it caters to a large section of the rural population. Even the medical technology has advanced very well. India is being known globally for its medical tourism.
In spite of the above achievements, we are not able to provide proper health care facilities to all. People in rural areas have to travel long distances and wait in long queues at government hospitals. Most doctors settle in urban areas. Half of all children in India are undernourished.
Healthcare facilities can be divided into two broad categories:
- Public health services
- Private health facilities
Public health services
The word public in public health services means that they provide healthcare to all citizens through hospitals and health centres set up by the government. Moreover, the money/resources required to run these is obtained from the ‘public’ in the form of taxes.
A public health service is a chain of health centres and hospitals run by the government. They are linked together so that they provide services in both rural and urban areas and provide services for routine and small illnesses and also provide specialized services.
Village Level: At the village level there are health centres where there is usually a nurse and a village health worker. The nurse in rural areas is called ANM (Auxilliary Midwife Nurse) They are trained in common illnesses and work under the supervision of doctors at the Primary Health Centre.
Primary Health Centre (PHC): Such a centre covers many villages in rural India. A PHC has a General Physician, a Gynaecologist, an Orthopeadics, a Dentist, an Opthalmologist and a Paediatrician. Thus, many specialized treatments are available at PHCs.
Community Health Centre (CHC): Such health centres are present at block and subdivision levels. They have more facilities in terms of specialization of doctors.
District Hospital: At the district level it is the District Hospital that supervises all the PHCs and CHCs. These hospitals have more facilities compared to a CHC. Large cities have many government hospitals.
A public health care system:
- Is meant to provide quality health care service either free or at a nominal cost so that even the poor can seek treatment.
- Is supposed to take action for preventing diseases like TB, malaria, cholera, etc. This involves campaigns involving the people to create awareness about some diseases and methods to prevent them. For example: creating awareness about how stagnant water in buckets, tyres, drains, flower pots, water coolers, etc. acts as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, hence spreading dengue and malaria.
According to our Constitution it is the primary duty of the government to ensure the welfare of the people and provide health care facilities to all. The government must safeguard the Right to Life of all people. If a hospital cannot give timely medical treatment to a patient, it means the right to life is not being safeguarded.