There are many diseases that plague the Indian population. Learn about major health problems in India and where India stands to overcome those.
After Independence, there has been a significant improvement in the health status of people. In India, still there are many diseases that affect people’s lives. These include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and more. Diabetes has become one of the most common chronic diseases in India. It affects millions of people and causes serious complications.
But the situation is not much better as a per study by WHO. It has placed India in the 112th position among 191 countries of the world. Even Bangladesh is ahead of India.
Major health problems in India
The following are the 7 major problems of health services:
1. Neglect of Rural Population
A serious drawback of India’s health service is the neglect of rural masses. It is largely a service based on urban hospitals. Although there are large no. of PHC’s and rural hospitals yet the urban bias is visible. According to health information, 31.5% of hospitals and 16% of hospital beds are in rural areas where 75% of the total population lives.
The doctors are unwilling to serve in rural areas. Instead of strengthening a health system, dependent on paramedical (like bare-footed doctors in China) to strengthen the periphery. India has developed one dependent on doctors, giving it a top-heavy character.
2. Emphasis on Culture Method
The health system of India depends almost on imported western models. It has no roots in the culture and tradition of the people. It is mostly service based on urban hospitals. This has been at the cost of providing comprehensive primary health care to all. Otherwise speaking, it has completely neglected preventive, pro-motive, rehabilitative and public health measures.
3. Inadequate Outlay for Health
According to the National Health Policy 2002, the Govt. contribution to the health sector makes up only 0.9 percent of the GDP. This is quite insufficient. In India, public expenditure on health is 17.3% of the total health expenditure while in China, the same is 24.9% and in Sri Lanka and USA, the same is 45.4 and 44.1 respectively. This is the major cause of low health standards in the country.
4. Social Inequality
The growth of health facilities has been highly imbalanced in India. Rural, hilly and remote areas of the country are underserved while in urban areas and cities, the health facility is well developed. The SC/ST and the poor people are far away from modern health services.
The table shows social inequality in the provision of health in India.
5. Shortage of Medical Personnel:
In India, a shortage of medical personnel like doctors, a nurse etc. is a basic problem in the health sector. In 1999-2000, while there were only 5.5 doctors per 10,000 population in India, the same is 25 in the USA and 20 in China. Similarly, the number of hospitals and dispensaries is insufficient compared to our vast population.
6. Medical Research
Medical research in the country needs to be focused on drugs and vaccines for tropical diseases which are normally neglected by international pharmaceutical companies on account of their limited profitability potential. The National Health Policy 2002 suggests allocating more funds to boost medical research in this direction.
7. Expensive Health Service
In India, health services, especially allopathic, are quite expensive. It hits hard the average person. Prices of various essential drugs have gone up. Therefore, more emphasis should be given to alternative systems of medicine. Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathy systems are less costly and will serve the average person in a better way. Concluding the health system has many problems. These problems can be overcome by effective planning and allocating more funds.
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Source: Economics Discussion
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