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.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Me and China

European Investment Bank to borrow €70 billion in 2013

China confirms anti-state-subsidy investigation on EU wine imports

Dutch voters reject EU-Ukraine partnership and open a new pandora’s box for the EU

The EU Parliament endorses tax on financial transactions

EU’s guidelines on net neutrality see the light although grey areas do remain

European Commissioner for Youth wants young people to be at heart of policy making

Parliament sets up plan to fight the 3,600 criminal rings of EU

EU migrant crisis: Germany, France and UK to show the way. Will the rest of the EU follow?

Bundesbank’s President Weidmann criticises France and the EU. Credibility at risk?

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

Eurozone in trouble after Nicosia’s ‘no’

A Sting Exclusive: “Without climate, forget about peace!”, Swedish MEP Bodil Valero cautions from Brussels

Economic recovery won’t tackle youth unemployment problem

Eurozone to enter the winter…

Will ECB win against low inflation by not following Quantitave Easing?

The Chinese spirit

Why did Cameron gain absolute majority? What will he do now? Will he vote ‘yes’ in Britain’s in – out EU referendum?

Presentation of Juncker’s Investment Plan: Can 315 billion euros save the EU?

YO!FEST ENGAGES 8,000 YOUNG EUROPEANS IN FUTURE OF EU

Eurozone officials play with people’s deposits and minds

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Why Eurozone’s problems may end in a few months

Eurozone recession subsides

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

EU will not deliver on promises without democratic accountability

South Eurozone urgently needs fairer distribution of taxation burden

All talk but no action against fraudulent bankers

Eurozone: Statistics don’t tell the whole story

Crimea, a wicked game of political chess and a ‘big’ coincidence

European Youth Forum welcomes strong stance on human rights in State of the Union

US, Russia oblige each other in Syria and Ukraine selling off allies

Can the world take the risk of a new financial armageddon so that IMF doesn’t lose face towards Tsipras?

European Employment Forum 2013 and not European Unemployment Forum 2014

Glaringly false reassurances about the repercussions of the EU-US free trade agreement

European Banking Union: no one is perfect

Europe united in not supporting a US attack on Syria

Commission challenges Council over EU 2014 budget

Data show EU Economy in a stubbornly subdued state

IMF to teach Germany a Greek lesson

The West definitively cuts Russia off from the developed world

The impossible end of the war in Syria

Why do medical students need to go abroad to become a doctor in 2017?

The Swiss will pay dearly for voting out fellow Europeans

What the world will look like after the Iran and 5+1 deal; the US emerges as major power broker in Middle East

Zhua Zhou: Choosing The Future

Macron plans for Europe, Brexit and banks but vague on France

Will the outcome of the UK referendum “calm” the financial markets?

The West and Russia took what they wanted from Ukraine

“CETA is a game changer for major trade agreements”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

GREXIT final wrap-up: nobody believed Aesop’s boy who cried wolf so many times

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Children Will Bear the Brunt of Climate Change: UNICEF

Why medicine is relevant to the battle against climate change

The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

ECB embarks on the risky trip to Eurozone banking universe

MWC 2016 LIVE: Freemium MVNO model a success, claims FreedomPop head

The Sting’s Mission

More Stings?

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s