World Health Day 2023 will focus on the theme, ‘Health for All,’ marking the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on April 7, under the auspices of WHO and other related organisations. The date of April 7 marks the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948.
Health for all has its roots in the community and our Region’s territory. Social and political leadership in support of the right to health and initiatives to strengthen health systems from the PHC approach must adopt a solid territorial perspective and belonging. Integrated Health Service Delivery Networks, one of the primary operational expressions of the PHC approach, can also adopt forms that increase resilience and contribute to achieving universal health.
World Health Day is a celebration of citizenship and the global community. It is an opportunity to reaffirm the Region’s commitment to the right of all people to enjoy the highest possible level of physical and mental health. In this sense, this activity is aimed at the general public. It features a panel of high-level speakers representing different perspectives: Health Ministers, Government officials, international actors, social organisations, and civil society representatives. This demonstrates the transformation potential offered by involving and empowering individuals, families, and communities to increase social participation and improve self-care for health. It also calls on decision-makers to continue guaranteeing informed and active participation in which people are at the centre of health decisions and outcomes.
According to the statistics on the life expectancy at birth in India from 2010 to 2020, the average life expectancy at birth in India in 2020 was 70.15 years. Regarding life expectancy, India is neither among the countries with the highest, nor among those with the lowest life expectancy at birth. The majority of the Indian population is aged between 15 and 64 years, with only about 5 percent being older than 64. As far as Death rate In India from 2010 to 2020 is concerned, the death rate in India increased by 0.6 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants (+8.94 percent) in 2020 in comparison to the previous year. In total, the death rate amounted to 7.35 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants in 2020. It should be worth mentioning here that the crude death rate is the annual number of deaths in a given population, expressed per 1,000 people. When looked at in unison with the crude birth rate, the rate of natural increase can be determined. Ae regards, Life expectancy of men at birth in India from 2010 to 2020 (in years) is concerned, in 2020, the life expectancy of men at birth in India remained nearly unchanged at around 68.61 years. Nevertheless, this was the first time during the considered period that the life expectancy declined, albeit slowly, in India. Life expectancy at birth refers to the number of years the average new born is expected to live, providing that mortality patterns at the time of birth do not change thereafter. On the other hand, when we talk about Life expectancy of women at birth in India from 2010 to 2020 (in years), in 2020, the life expectancy of women at birth in India remained nearly unchanged at around 71.82 years.
Nevertheless, this was the first time during the considered period that the life expectancy declined, albeit slowly, in India. Life expectancy at birth refers to the number of years that the average new born can expect to live, providing that mortality patterns at the time of their birth do not change thereafter. Fertility rate across India from 2010 to 2020 (number of children born per woman) decreased by 0.1 children per woman (-4.74 per cent) in 2020 in comparison to the previous year. The fertility rate thereby reached its lowest value in recent years. Notably, the fertility rate is continuously decreasing over the last years. The total fertility rate is the average number of children that a woman of childbearing age (generally considered 15 to 44 years) can hypothetically expect to have throughout her reproductive years. As fertility rates are estimates (similar to life expectancy), they refer to a hypothetical woman or cohort, and estimates assume that current age-specific fertility trends would remain constant throughout this person’s reproductive years. Birth rate in India from 2010 to 2020 (per 1,000 inhabitants), in 2020, the crude birth rate in India decreased by 0.5 live births per 1,000 inhabitants (-2.93 per cent) since 2019. Therefore, the rate in India saw its lowest number in that year with 16.57 live births per 1,000 inhabitants.
Several policy initiatives were launched in recent years to address India’s health system challenges. The National Health Mission (NHM), which was intended to strengthen the health systems of both the Central and State Governments, has remained largely confined to addressing maternal and neonatal conditions, and various infectious disease control programmes
Notably, the rate is continuously decreasing over the last years. The crude birth rate is the annual number of live births divided by the total population, expressed per 1,000 people. Infant mortality rate also plays an important role as far as development of the country is concerned because Infant mortality is an indicator. The infant mortality rate is the number of deaths of children under one year of age per 1,000 live births. This rate is an important key indicator for a country’s health and standard of living; a low infant mortality rate indicates a high standard of healthcare. Causes of infant mortality include premature birth, sepsis or meningitis, sudden infant death syndrome, and pneumonia. Globally, the infant mortality rate has shrunk from 63 infant deaths per 1,000 live births to 27 since 1990 and is forecast to drop to 8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births by the year 2100. Infant mortality rate in India from 2010 to 2020 (in deaths per 1,000 live births), in 2020, the infant mortality rate in India was at about 27 deaths per 1,000 live births, a significant decrease from previous years.
India’s Rural problem
With 32 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, India is neither among the countries with the highest nor among those with the lowest infant mortality rate. Its decrease indicates an increase in medical care and hygiene, as well as a decrease in female infanticide. Increasing life expectancy at birth is another indicator that shows that the living conditions of the Indian population are improving. Still, India’s inhabitants predominantly live in rural areas, where standards of living as well as access to medical care and hygiene are traditionally lower and more complicated than in cities. Public health programs are thus put in place by the Government to ensure further improvement.
Highlights of the Rual Health Statistics 2021- 2022:
According to the recent Rural Health Statistics Report recently released by The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there is a shortage of 83.2 per cent of surgeons, 74.2 per cent of obstetricians and gynaecologists, 79.1 per cent of physicians and 81.6 per cent of paediatricians. Less than half the PHC (45per cent) function on a 24×7 basis. Of the 5,480 functioning CHCs, only 541 have all four specialists. The requirement of physicians in the CHCS is 5,183. However, there is a shortfall of 4,087. This has grown from 3,881 shortfalls in 2019. The shortfall has increased by 27.7 per cent in one year. Under the category of Surgeons, the five states with maximum shortfall of physicians in CHC are Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
Under the category of Gynaecologists, the five states with maximum shortfall of physicians in CHC are Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The number of doctors required in Primary Health Centres in rural area is 24,918, and Chhattisgarh positions are vacant.
The shortfall of doctors in PHCS were the highest in Odisha, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.
The shortfall in the posts of health workers was 2 per cent. SC, PHC and CHC facilities are overburdened across the board. The Community Health Centres are considered as the backbone of rural health care system of India. These Centres should have at least thirty beds. They should cover at least four primary health centres with specialised services. Every Community Health Centre should be manned by four medical specialists such as physician, surgeon, gynaecologist and a paediatrician. The RHS estimates as of 31 March, 2022, has revealed that each Community Health Centres (CHC) caters to 164027 people, against a norm of 80,000-1,20,000. The Primary Health Centre should consist of four to six beds, 14 subordinate paramedical staff. The RHS estimates as of 31 March, 2022, has revealed that each Primary Health Centres (PHC) caters to 36049 people, against a norm 20,000-30,000. Sub Centres are the most peripheral contact point between primary health care system and the community. It should consist of on HW (Female) or ANM and one HW (male).
National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)’s focus on expanding institutional deliveries did lead to a significant increase in the share of deliveries in health facilities. The Quality of delivery services in the public sector remain a concern, including difficulties in handling birth complications, shortfalls in emergency obstetric care facilities, shortages of key essential medicines, diagnostics, etc.
HW is Health Worker and ANM is Auxiliary Nurse Midwife. The RHS estimates as of 31 March, 2022, has revealed that each sub centre catered to an average of 5691 people, against a norm of 3,000-5,000. This, coupled with a human resource shortage (like auxiliary nurse midwives – ANM), plagues access to adequate and quality healthcare. The shortage was most pronounced in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Uttarakhand. SCs, PHCs and CHCs had more staff in 2021, at the height of the deadly second wave of COVID-19, as compared to now. CHCs are 30-bed block-level health facilities that are supposed to provide basic care related to surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics, and general medicine. There are 6,064 CHCs across India, and the Health Ministry has been unsuccessful in meeting the requirement for specialist doctors in most of these centres.
Apart from specialist doctors, there is also a shortage of female health workers and auxiliary nursing midwives, with up to 14.4 per cent of these posts lying vacant in PHCs and SCs.
There has been an over 50 per cent rise in the number of allopathy doctors in primary health centres since the launch of the National Rural Health Mission in 2005. The allopathic doctors at PHCs have increased from 20,308 in 2005 to 30,640 in 2022.
Urban Health Statistics
There is a vacancy of 18.8 per cent of doctors, 16.8 per cent of pharmacists, 16.8 per cent of lab technicians and 19.1 per cent of staff nurses at the U-PHCs (Urban PHCs). The population covered by a U-PHC may vary from 50,000 to 75,000. Urban Community Health Centre (U-CHCs) is set up as a referral facility for every 4-5 U-PHCs. The U-CHC caters to a population of 2,50,000 to 5 lakhs.
By the numbers
70 per cent – the percentage of social- and health workers who are women.
100 million – the number of people who survive on $1.90 or less a day.
800 million – the number of people who spent a good portion of their household budget on healthcare in 2017.
20.6 per cent – the percentage of adults in America who experienced serious mental illness in 2019.
6.6 million – the number of children around the world who die due to weak healthcare systems.
800 – the number of women who die every day due to pregnancy complications.
$8.4 billion – the number of dollars spent on Halloween in 2018, which is more than what the world spends on combating malaria.
5 – the average age of children in Zambia who die due to malaria.
2195 – the number of children around the world who die from diarrhea.
10.2 million – the number of people in America who suffer from mental health and addiction disorders.
Traditions of the day
Since its inception, health issues and access to healthcare have been greatly campaigned for by people all over the world-on-World Health Day. The World Health Organisation has a different theme every year for this day, which is highlighted in schools, seminars, workshops, and discussion forums. The day is all about creating awareness for the health issues of the needy and the less fortunate in poor regions around the world, as well as reminding us to be grateful for our health and to better take care of ourselves.
Outdoor activities like hiking and bicycling are organised, as well as charity drives and fundraisers. Mental health is often most neglected and, owing to our stressful lifestyles, it’s very important nowadays. So, mediation and therapy are greatly encouraged. Of course, you are what you eat, so the meals of the day and restaurant promotions are all about maintaining a balanced diet.
How to observe World Health Day
1. Organise a conversation in your community
WHO offers free information toolkits for organisers. Take the challenge and lead a conversation in your community about a current healthcare issue.
2. Read up on past year’s themes
With over 50 years of health days in the archives, it can be an interesting exercise to look at how far — or not — we have come in healthcare. You might learn something interesting and relevant even from older information.
3. Thank your nurses!
This year’s World Health Day is focused on them, so make sure to thank them! Flowers, tweets or any nice gesture will go a long way for sure!
(The writer is Eminent Social Scientist, Dean and Chairman – Board of Studies)