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

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

Security Union: political agreement on strengthened Schengen Information System

German heavy artillery against Brussels and Paris

Radio still a powerful worldwide tool for ‘dialogue, tolerance and peace’: Guterres

COVID-19: Revised rules to encourage banks to lend to companies and households

Building an Inclusive ICT Innovation Ecosystem

Four million have now fled Venezuela, UN ramps up aid to children who remain

‘Never give up’: UN chief urges all who serve, marking UN Day

A European young student shares his thoughts on Quality Education

‘We won’t get to zero cases of Ebola without a big scale-up in funding,’ UN relief chief warns

Tenants ‘forced out their homes’ by global investment firms, say UN experts

Parliament: Last compromise on bank single resolution mechanism

UN rights chief urges ‘immediate dialogue’ to end Chile unrest

‘Preserve, revitalize and promote’ indigenous languages, or lose a ‘wealth of traditional knowledge’, UN chief says

Boosting the EU’s green recovery: Commission invests €1 billion in innovative clean technology projects

Volkswagen getting away with it in Europe

Global Goals offer ‘special opportunity’ to change course of development, Bosnian leader tells General Assembly

Charges against Baha’i in Yemen must be dropped: UN experts urge release of detainees

EU unfolds strategy on the Egypt question

OECD household income up 0.7% in first quarter of 2018, outpacing GDP growth

6 ways to future-proof universities

Safe spaces offer security and dignity for youth, and help make the world ‘better for all’: Guterres

Fairer, simpler, more flexible EU farm policy: MEPs vote on post-2020 reform

What the Corn Laws tell us about Brexit Britain

Millions of young lives at risk due to humanitarian funding shortfall: UNICEF

5 rules for making employers and employees trust each other again

With science ‘held back by a gender gap’, Guterres calls for more empowerment for women and girls

Can the next financial crisis be avoided?

What will the US look like under Trump? Was his election campaign a big scam?

Do doctors need to know their patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity?

COVID-19: ‘Top priority’ must be on containment, insists WHO’s Tedros

We need to rethink neuroscience. And you can help us

Alexandre in Czech Republic

On World Bee day, human activity blamed for falling pollinator numbers

Time to measure up: 5 ways the fashion industry can be made more sustainable

On the Global Day of Parents, UNICEF is urging support for parents to give children ‘the best start in life’

Inaction over climate emergency ‘not an option’ says UN Assembly chief

The European Youth raises their voices this week in Brussels at Yo!Fest 2015

What is an immunity passport and could it work?

Technology can help solve the climate crisis – but it will need our help

Get out, stay out: how financial resilience helps end poverty

Why is the EU launching a doomed policy in stopping immigrant waves? What are the real targets?

These are the 5 most exciting cycling projects in the world

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Guterres in Kenya, Prisoners sick in Iran, #GlobalGoals, Myanmar, Ukraine updates, and new space partnership

Maros Sefcovic Canete European Commission Energy

Better late than never? Commission runs now to fight energy dependency on Russia with the sustainable energy security package

UNICEF warns of ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya youth, one year after Myanmar exodus

Greater investment in family-friendly policies critical to support breastfeeding – UNICEF

This Pacific island has banned fishing to allow the marine ecosystem to recover

Statement by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the outcome of COP 25

Towards the new era of medicine

The dirty secret of electric vehicles

Taxation: Commission refers Germany to the Court for its failure to apply EU rules on VAT for farmers

The anti-vaccine movement shows the peril of a post-truth world

Canada grants asylum for Saudi teen who fled family: UNHCR

A Sting Exclusive, the European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger writes for the Sting on “EU Industry: a major energizer”

‘Continuing absence’ of political solution to Israel-Palestine conflict ‘undermines and compounds’ UN efforts to end wholesale crisis

Accelerating a more sustainable industrial revolution with digital manufacturing

Switzerland to favour EU citizens in immigration quotas as the risk of a new referendum looms

Is there a de facto impossibility for the Brexit to kick-start?

Here’s how to help India’s rural population go digital

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