“HEALTH FOR ALL”: PROTECTING EVERYONE SHOULD BE THE GOAL—BY DR. ASHWANI K.MALHOTRA
During my service in the rural areas of Punjab, I had the opportunity to interact with the patients and elders of the villages and we would discuss various health issues and programs initiated by the Government. During these meetings I gained an insight into their health concerns and how we could reach out to each and every family with these health programs to prevent and protect them from diseases, to improve the sanitation in the villages and their health.
Over the years in post-independence era, the country has witnessed rapid progress in providing preventive, promotive and curative health services to its 135 crore citizens, through its vast network of institutions.
The district hospitals, community health centers, primary health centers and sub-centers, manned by doctors and paramedical staff, health workers, and Asha Workers in remotest villages give access to health services to the poorest of the poor.
The improvement in the overall health of the average Indian can be gauged from the increase in longevity and the decrease in the key parameters which determine the health status of an individual, family and community, along with an upsurge in the economy and development of the country.
The availability of iron tablets, supplementary nutrition at the anganwaaris under the ICDS program and immunization of children and pregnant women, routine check up during pregnancy and delivery by trained dais/ health attendants/workers and doctors at the village level is also accredited for reduced death rates among mothers during pregnancy and delivery and of neonates, children under 1 and 5 years.
The key parameters that determine health status in India are :
Photo credits RGHOSPITALS
- Longevity: The average age of an Indian has increased from around 35 to 40 years in the 1950’s to around 69 to 70 now, taking into account his nutritional status, social and economic status, literacy and environmental sanitation.
- Birth rate: The average number of children a family had was around 5 to 7 at the time of Independence, but with a thrust in available family planning services and the realization of a small family the birth rate along with the total fertility rate has been steadily declining and now stands at around 18 per thousand people.
- Death rate: it is now about 7 per thousand people, a steady decline over the past decades.
- MMR: The deaths of mothers in pregnancy and delivery has seen a decline of 27% from 2013 and was 113 per 1,00, 000 live births.
- IMR: The Infant Mortality Rate has also seen a significant decline over the years due to better maternal and child health services to the current average of 28 per thousand births.
HEALTH WORKERS OF ALL STRATA DESERVE KUDOS FOR MAKING ABOVE POSSIBLE.
This year’s theme of the International Universal Health Coverage Day (12 Dec) remains – “Health for all: Protect Everyone.”
This calls for investing in health systems not only by the Governments of the land but also by NGOS and the Big Corporates as a necessary philanthropy to raise awareness of the need for strong, equitable and resilient health systems for mission Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as per UN aspirations.
-DR. ASHWANI K. MALHOTRA*
Dr Ashwani K. Malhotra MBBS, PGDMCH, PGDMLS, is a retired Senior Medical Officer,Punjab Government,and can be reached @M-9417188867 E-mail :email@example.com