The Indian case: health policies need to keep pace with public health literacy

Ifmsa-int-logo_svg

Exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Ramya Jayasimha, a third year medical student at Bangalore Karnataka. Ms Jayasimha is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA).

The incidence of disease across the world has been on the decline from more than half a century, with better healthcare, better technology and new scientific advances popping up left right and center. From developing to developed, healthcare as a whole is improving everywhere. With health being a national priority rather than an individual concern, it is mutually beneficial for both national productivity as well as individual quality of life. Thus, it is imperative that a country’s health system be easy to access and navigate.

The purview of problems that a country faces is ever-changing ad needs to be reflected in the health policy of a country. India, for example has a health policy that focuses primarily on secondary prevention rather than primordial. With an exceptionally large infectious disease burden, the focus is on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, respiratory tract infections and HIV. Some countries have mostly eliminated tuberculosis by improving sanitation, overcrowding and isolating the infected. However, tuberculosis affects the poor of India, who do not have the means of providing a safe environment for themselves, nor does the government provide one for them.

The crux of the issue seems to be that most of the affected live in areas where access and awareness of medical treatment is insufficient. The affected live in close proximity to the vulnerable, do not seek treatment early, and discontinue medication leading to disastrous consequences. The policy of treat, rather than prevent, in India has led to the steady emergence of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis that may affect even the currently immune.

This is where health policy needs to step in. The basic step of ensuring a healthy population is by making sure that the nation knows how to keep itself healthy in the first place. A countries citizens cannot magically accept all proposals put forth by policymakers; intrinsic biases and resistance to change, as well as downright ignorance will always exist. Often times, people will be deeply distrustful if the government tries to impose decrees on something as personal as their own health.

With increasing tensions all over the world with regards to health care, escalating costs and political unrest, educating the population on navigating the healthcare system and successfully getting treated is all the more important.

The way forward, thus, is not a forceful shoving of knowledge down one’s throat, but rather a mutually respectful dialogue. It has to be acknowledged that a citizen’s personhood cannot be ignored in view of the bigger picture. Policies have to gradually cause a transition of the public perception rather than blaring information from every street corner.

Health policies outlined by a government cannot frame items carte blanche, without public input and concerns. What lawmakers feel is important may bring up different sentiments from the public altogether. Thus, policy making and public literacy of health issues must go hand in hand to ensure effective health care for a country’s people.

About the author

Ramya Jayasimha

Ms Ramya Jayasimha is a third year undergraduate medical student at Bangalore Karnataka. Her world views have been shaped by both India and Singapore since she has lived in both countries. She is also an officer of the Medical Students Association of India. She is currently involved in, and want to pursue a career in medical research. She is very fascinated by the way worldly events are influenced by the most mundane of occurrences, and want to investigate phenomena to their source. She enjoys art and Indian classical dance.

 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Trade Barriers Report: EU continues to open up markets outside Europe in midst of rising protectionism

EU recovery and long-term budget: Leaders must do better

Economy and living standards of Gaza ‘eviscerated’ by crippling blockade – UN trade and development report

168 hours left for MEPs – ECOFIN Council to deliver a Banking Union

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “We need more Schengen but reinforce control!”, France’s Minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron emphasises from Davos

DR Congo: Restore internet services as ‘a matter of urgency’, urges UN expert

Parmesan cheese on shelves in Italy (Copyright: European Union, 2014 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Daniela Giusti)

CETA at risk again: Italy says it won’t ratify EU-Canada trade deal over product protection fears

If Macron defies Britain about the banks, Paris and London to clash over ‘La Manche’

How to get ageing populations to invest in their health

In post-COVID Latin America, investment in infrastructure can bring back tourism – and rebuild the economy

This Canadian company transforms plastic waste into building materials

Eurozone closer to a deflation – stagnation trap

UN chief calls for ‘far greater support’ for Cyclone Idai response

EU budget 2021-2027: Commission calls on leaders to set out a roadmap towards an autumn agreement

Reinforcing EU border security: Visa-exempt travelers will be pre-screened

UN chief calls for ‘green and clean’ development in message for Africa Industrialization Day

Court of Auditors: MEPs back five members

Switzerland fast-tracks emergency aid for small businesses weathering COVID-19

Brexit kick-off: a historic day for the EU anticlockwise

Blockchain can change the face of renewable energy in Africa. Here’s how

Attack on Saudi facilities risks dragging Yemen into ‘regional conflagration’: UN Envoy

The EU to fight cross-border tax evasion with a toothless directive

On International Youth Day the European Youth Forum calls for true youth participation

China in my eyes

We are stronger than this pandemic (COVID-19)

Will satellites destroy our view of space?

US resolution to condemn activities of Hamas voted down in General Assembly

Final turnout data for 2019 European elections announced

Can the EU assume the mantle of global leadership?

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

Is Germany closer to Russia than the West? Nord Stream II and Iran count more

8th Euronest Assembly: the future of relations with Eastern partners

5 ways for business leaders to win in the 2020s

Trade in digital services is booming. Here’s how we can unleash its full potential

Businesses, governments and consumers to implement a more climate-friendly approach to #BeatPlasticPollution on World Environment Day 2018

Working Muslim women are a trillion-dollar market

Sweden is fighting loneliness by housing older and younger generations together

‘World’s deadliest sea crossing’ claimed six lives a day in 2018: UN refugee agency

In wake of ‘collapsed’ agreement, new wave of violence threatens millions in Syria’s Idlib

The ‘abuse of food relief in Yemen’ must end now

Eurozone economy desperately needs internally driven growth

Listen to the future – how 26 youth-led organizations are supercharging the UN’s Global Goals

Yemen: Committee brings warring parties to the table in Hudaydah, builds on ceasefire

Healthcare workers’ safety: a forgotten necessity

5 things you might not know about forests – but should

2021-2027 EU Budget: €378,1 billion to benefit all regions

Key economic forum in Russia: New technology a ‘vector of hope’ but also ‘a source of fear’ says Guterres

Ireland: prepare now for rising fiscal pressures, external risks

Bilbao’s city parks offer brain-training games for the elderly

Primary Healthcare: Back to the Basics

In Mozambique, it’s ‘a matter of the heart’ says Guterres, lauding the cyclone-struck nation’s ‘undeniable moral authority’

Egypt: The road to hell paved with western advices for democracy

UN agencies launch emergency plan for millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants

COVID-19 has disrupted cybersecurity, too – here’s how businesses can decrease their risk

Three ways the world must tackle mental health

Water reuse: Commission proposes measures to make it easier and safer for agricultural irrigation

China’s Ambassador to the EU Zhang Ming wishes to Brussels a Happy 2019 Year of the Pig

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity: Why consumer products must be looked at urgently”, by BEUC’s Deputy Director General

These countries have the most doctors and nurses

Commission’s report shows that targeted investment and robust digital policies boost Member States’ performance

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s