Caraka or charaka in 300 bc who lived in the city of Kapisthla was a great Doctor or an Ayurvedic Vaidhya of that time and the author of Caraka Samhitha a great medical treatise. India had a great medical health tradition with so many strains of treatments from different parts of the country all were brought under the umbrella of ayurvedic tradition at taht time . Before the advent of allopathy all health issues were addressed by vaids only. Of Course they had their limitation as surgery as it is known now was unknown. caraka was probably the first to come out with the idea diseases were caused by germs .whereas the germ theory was proposed by Girolomo Fracostoro only in 1546 in Europe . Caraca also propounded the theory prevention is better than cure. caraka samhita was the first treatise on medicine on holistic health.It is telling with such awesome heritage India lacks behing in Public Health Care and is at the bottom of the list.
India ranks as one of the lowest in developing countries and stands at 125th out of 195 countries statistics available with WHO for the year 2017. This is simply a pathetic status.one shouldn’t get fooled by the multi-specialty brands of hospitals available in major towns and cities of India. They address the health and medical needs of miniscule numbers of the 1.3 billion population in India. Even there the type, cost and the manner of treatment is highly questionable. There is no point in defending such a terrible and inadequate system which any way gets away with bad treatment and functioning. Less can be said about the methods and delivery of Indian health insurance sector. Simply crowing about the percentage of insurance sector growth won’t take way the fact the costing and delivery system is very faulty, and they function in tandem with the hospitals with whom they have developed business for profit relationship.
With this introduction I would like to take the attention to Narendra Modi and his path breaking Ayushman Bharat Yojana (ABY) under the National Health Protection Mission. Translated in numbers 100 million vulnerable families and that translated roughly to 500 million people. This is a mind-boggling number not comparable anywhere in the world. There is no point in comparing other statistics from other countries as the parameters keep changing and there is no universal yardstick.
But comparison inside the country could be made starting from 1950.Upto now though successive governments had series of incompetent schemes which most often failed to deliver any great help worth mentioning. Whatever was spent mostly seeped out in corruption. The genesis of this scheme is in tune with Modis perception of health care or lack of it, resultant loss of man days in work, resultant loss of income to the vulnerable family households and the direct loss to the nations growth. His concept only a physically healthy nation can be prosperous is right and was never articulated earlier by any other leaders in India.
He talked about swatchata -cleanliness, washing hands, open defecation, loss of man days by sickness to the working class, effects of drinking unclean water resulting in diarrhea, from the ramparts of Red Fort or addressing people either on public platforms, Mann ki bath or election rallies. This kind of connect to ordinary vulnerable people no other Indian leader has done in the last 70 years.And now Modi has walked the talk, again a first for a leader in independent India
Statistics on failing unaffordable health care in India will not help many to understand why Modi spent so much time in public on these subjects, unless they make an effor the pain and tragedy these vulnaerable section of indias population faces in their daily existance.What Modi did was to make the emotional and personal connect to peoples issue like this which again is a first in india.
Most on social media or who read blogs wouldn’t even understand what goes in the lives of the vulnerable under privileged people in rural and urban areas. The cost of treatment diseases like diabetes, kidney failure, angioplasties, hysterectomies, or major infections like jaundice, typhoid, chicken gunya can devastate the financial health of these people. Either they will be indebted, loss of property by selling them to avail treatment, financial destruction by availing costly private loans etc. If they have not gone through these miseries by availing the treatments the other picture is death of family members with its own attended problems like loss of the bread winner, children, mother etc.It is not that the ones who get treated in many of the private hospitals as most avoid the government run hospitals come out successfully. Most often these private hospitals and nursing homes ill-treat medically these patients and fleece them for it.
AYB should usher in a new phase in health care for these sections of people. I hope readers would go through the govt web site. The scheme is well drawn, deliverable and implementable. This scheme is not like the usual slogans like garibhi hatao, roti kapada makan kind of gimmick. If this succeeds it will change the Indian health sector.If India has to succeed this scheme has to succeed