Health Care As A Human Right: Legal Battles And Breakthroughs

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) 1. Increasing Public Health Care Spending

Current Scenario : India's public spending on health care is around 2.1% of GDP, significantly lower than the average of lower- and middle-income countries.

Solution : The government needs to increase its health care budget to at least 5% of GDP. This additional funding can be used to build new health care facilities, upgrade existing ones, and purchase essential medical equipment. Enhanced financial investment is crucial for expanding infrastructure and improving the quality of care.

2. Strengthening Primary Health Care

Current Scenario : Primary health care facilities are often underfunded and understaffed, particularly in rural areas.

Solution: Strengthening primary health care involves establishing well-equipped and adequately staffed health and wellness centers across the country. Training and retaining a sufficient number of primary health care workers is essential. Additionally, integrating digital health solutions like telemedicine can extend the reach of primary health services, especially in remote areas.

3. Enhancing Health Care Infrastructure

Current Scenario: India has 1.4 hospital beds per 1,000 people and 1 doctor per 1,445 people, with a significant concentration of health care facilities in urban areas.

Solution: To address this disparity, the government should focus on building and upgrading hospitals in rural and underserved areas. Investing in mobile health clinics and telehealth services can also help bridge the gap in health care access. Ensuring a more even distribution of health care facilities will make health services accessible to the broader population.

4. Improving Health Care Workforce

Current Scenario : There is a shortage of trained health care professionals, with many preferring to work in urban areas or abroad.

Solution: To tackle this issue, the government should increase investment in medical education and training programs. Incentivizing health care professionals to work in rural and underserved areas through better pay, housing, and working conditions can help address the workforce gap. Continuous professional development programs can ensure that health care workers are up-to-date with the latest medical practices and technologies.

5. Ensuring Affordable and Quality Health Care

Current Scenario : High out-of-pocket expenditure on health care services is a significant burden for many families.

Solution: Implementing universal health coverage (UHC) schemes such as Ayushman Bharat is a step in the right direction. The government should further strengthen these schemes to cover more services and reach a larger population. Additionally, regulating the private health sector to ensure affordability and quality of care is necessary. Establishing price caps on essential drugs and procedures can help control costs.

6. Promoting Preventive Health Care

Current Scenario : The focus on curative care often overshadows preventive health measures.

Solution: Investing in preventive health care through public health campaigns, vaccinations, and regular health screenings can reduce the overall disease burden. Encouraging healthy lifestyles through awareness programs on nutrition, physical activity, and the dangers of smoking and alcohol can lead to a healthier population and lower health care costs in the long run.

7. Leveraging Technology and Innovation

Current Scenario : There is a growing adoption of technology in health care, but it remains limited in scope and reach.

Solution: Expanding the use of digital health technologies such as electronic health records (EHRs), telemedicine, and mobile health applications can improve health care delivery and patient outcomes. Implementing robust health information systems can facilitate better data collection, analysis, and decision-making. Encouraging innovation in health care through public-private partnerships can lead to the development of cost-effective and scalable solutions.

8. Enhancing Health Care Governance and Accountability

Current Scenario : There are issues related to corruption, inefficiency, and lack of accountability in the health care system.

Solution: Strengthening governance and accountability through transparent policies and robust regulatory frameworks is essential. Establishing independent bodies to monitor health care delivery and address grievances can enhance accountability. Implementing performance-based incentives for health care providers can improve efficiency and service quality.

9. Addressing Social Determinants of Health

Current Scenario : Factors such as poverty, education, and living conditions significantly impact health outcomes.

Solution: A holistic approach to health care must address social determinants of health. Improving education, ensuring access to clean water and sanitation, and providing social security measures can create an environment conducive to better health. Multi-sectoral collaboration between health, education, housing, and other relevant sectors is crucial for addressing these determinants.

10. Engaging Communities and Strengthening Public Health Programs

Current Scenario : Community engagement in health programs is often limited.

Solution: Actively involving communities in health care planning and implementation can lead to more effective and sustainable health programs. Strengthening public health programs such as the National Health Mission (NHM) can ensure that essential health services reach the grassroots level. Empowering community health workers and promoting community-based health insurance schemes can further enhance health care access and equity.

Improving India's health care system requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both systemic and specific challenges. By increasing public health care spending, strengthening primary health care, enhancing infrastructure, and improving the health care workforce, India can move towards achieving universal health coverage. Ensuring affordable and quality health care, promoting preventive health measures, leveraging technology, enhancing governance, addressing social determinants of health, and engaging communities are crucial steps in this direction. With sustained efforts and strategic reforms, India can build a health care system that is accessible, equitable, and capable of meeting the needs of its diverse population.

Views expressed in the article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer

  • The author is an Advocate, Supreme Court of India

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