The medical profession is one of the most revered professions for its life-saving ability. Unfortunately, recently there have been many protests against doctors and hospitals for incidents of negligence and loot involving prime hospitals like Max and Fortis.The overall degradation in the profession has become alarming. The trust in the doctor-patient relationship has taken a serious dip. In this background how to move ahead on health care issue is the question, Organiser seeks to address:
India has its own unique challenges in healthcare. A rise in communicable diseases and a massive increase in Non-Communicable diseases such as cardiac problems, cancer, diabetes etc is a cause of worry across the nation. Old age risks of diseases are increasing by the day due to lifestyle variations.
Currently, to meet the healthcare challenge, the existing healthcare infrastructure is not equipped enough. Meanwhile, there are better results in several largescale health initiatives such as Pulse-Polio immununisation, decrease in maternal mortality and infant mortality rate, increased average lifespan, awareness of ill-effects of tobacco and drugs, awareness of AIDS and other diseases.
There is a need of quality healthcare too. Medical hygiene is neglected even in the educated society. Menstrual hygiene, Maternity hygiene, preventing epidemic diseases are few areas where the quality of healthcare set up is not maintained.
Revolution in digital communication in India also helped to generate awareness on healthcare. However, the challenges of healthcare are on the rise.
Expressing concern over affordable healthcare, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had also passed a resolution in its national meet in March 2016, stressed on need for effective
healthcare and easy access to affordable medical services. It stated, “For making all kinds of medical service accessible to common people, the central and state governments should bring requisite improvement in the infrastructure, policies and procedures with the allocation of adequate resources. For this, coordinated expansion, regulation, teaching and research be promoted in all the systems of medicine and the regulatory mechanism and statutory provisions be executed transparently.” Hence, it’s that the concern and appeal made here is the need of the hour. Lesser known affordable medical
practices should be given a priority too. Both diagnosis and prognosis should be taken care of systematically to make a healthy society.
The largescale macro-economic reforms since the 1990s brought a shift in the provisions of public goods, including health and education. Many private players, both Indian and foreign, entered the sector with the stated aim of offering better quality care. However, as years passed the private players started treating it as a flourishing business rather than a service. The private hospitals increasingly serviced the advantaged sections of the society while the disadvantaged sections were left to the care of government hospitals. Post economic reforms, as money poured in, private hospitals and nursing homes mushroomed all over the country. While this was good for a section of the society, this brought in a sense of complacency which saw governments’ expenditure on health decline sharply.
On the one hand, conditions of government hospitals deteriorated and did not catch up with the advances in medical research and better facilities. On the other hand, people increasingly became dependent on private
hospitals. The effect of all this, coupled with lack of strict regulations from the government to rein in errant hospitals was that the private hospitals became presumptuous and arrogant in many cases. Today we see increasing cases of wrongful treatment of patients, as in the case of Max Hospitals in Delhi, and exploitation of patients by overcharging, as seen in the case of Fortis Hospitals in Gurgaon.
Though the private sector plays a major role in healthcare in India, especially to serve our large population, the government too continues to play a major role in the delivery of health care services through its network of hospitals and clinics. Today, India has a strong and sophisticated health sector where people even from outside the country come for medical tourism. However, increasing costs of medicines,
instrument and facilities under the Allopathic system to match the
facilitates of the private sector is a huge burden for the government too. It is here that India’s traditional healthcare systems needs to play a major role. Given this situation, India can take advantage of its indigenous medical system to ensure cheap, accessible and capable medical care for her population, particularly the poor. India has its own systems like Ayurveda, Unami, Siddha, etc. which it has developed since the ages. These systems need to be expanded and exploited for improvement of general health of the people.
Role of AYUSH
The term AYUSH is an acronym, stands for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. These six are systems of medicine of Indian origin. Ayush received its current name in March 2003, earlier it was called Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy ISMH since its inception in 1995. In November 14, 2014 Ministry of Ayush was launched.
Ayurveda, science of Life (Ayu-Life, Veda-Study) is a major contribution of India to the sector of healthcare. Ayurveda focuses on three basic elements—Vata, Pitta and Kapha. If they are maintained in equilibrium will result in health and imbalance will result in diseases. Yoga deals with comprehensive healthy life deals with overall well being of body and mind, also maintains equilibrium with the soul. Unani other components such as Yoga and Naturopathy are being practiced to promote health. These medicines are economical, safe, efficacious and easily available. Unani or Yunani is a medical practice which mainly deals with the management of a disease based on its diagnostic features and etiology. This system took its own course during Mughal empire in India, having an influence by the medical teachings of Acharya Charaka and Acharya Sushruta. Siddha is a traditional system of medicine having its roots of origin in ancient Tamilakam of Southern India. Maharshi Agasthya is considered as the first Siddha. The central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) monitors the higher education in areas of Siddha Medicine. Siddha system mainly focuses on role of diet and lifestyle on an individual’s health, which in turn sets up guidelines of dos and don’ts termed Pathyam and Apathyam. Homeopathy, proposed by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, is an alternative medicine system based a theory of ‘like cures like’.
Healthcare is one of the major and challenging sectors in India for decades. From Pre-Independence period there is a major concern over epidemic and chronic diseases, several disorders and factors responsible for unhygienic health conditions. As per World Health Organisation (WHO) norm for good quality healthcare, the Doctor per population ratio should be 1:600. But in India there is 1 doctor per 1500 population. Hence, for a population of 1.25 billions the numbers of doctors are too less by number and also the healthcare facilities are not much affordable for a common citizen. In majority of the cases, the urban centric healthcare turns to be far of system.
AYUSH system of medicine is mainly practiced as a traditional medicine in many parts of India by both trained and untrained experts. If the AYUSH doctors are properly trained, the entire system can be brought into mainstream of practice in a large scale.
Specifically the Indian system of medicine is important immune boosters. Nowadays the life expectancy of people have been increased due to improved health care system. Hence for a healthy old age, for palliative treatment Ayush system can do wonders.
AYUSH system of medicine is affordable, less expensive, eco-friendly, provides sustainable health, boosts immune system and moreover, there is no side-effects within the body organisation.
Both diet and lifestyle, play a vital role in maintaining health of a person and are the determinants of susceptibility to disorders. From Obesity to diabetes, Cancer to Asthma; hundreds of lifestyle disorders are on a spurt. AYUSH system has an answer to all these lifestyle disorders, if practiced
Hence, a better understanding, awareness and implementation of AYUSH practices are much needed on a larger scale, especially among the youth who form 65 per cent of our population.
(The writer is Assistant Professor, Dept of Dravyaguna, SDM Ayurvedic Medical College Bengaluru)