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  • Dr Alok Jha MD
  • 130
  • Parliament House
  • Jan. 31, 2017, 7:38 a.m.
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Building Universal Health Care in India

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  • Building Universal Health Care in India
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Read in Englishहिंदी में पढ़ें
Imagine a case scenario that you are travelling from Delhi to Mumbai on NH-8. Unfortunately you meet with an accident. You are severely injured. The cops arrive on scene. They take you to the nearest healthcare facility. What are you chance of survival if you are critically injured. Let me tell you. Very poor. No matter who you are, how rich you are, how well connected you are. You will die because the healthcare facility you will be take to will be ill prepared to handle your case. Only formalities will be done. You will be referred to a higher centre after first-aid and you will be history. Your post-mortem will be done in a facility which will be stinking and your body will be handed over to your near and dear ones. You will have no dignity and care while you will be treated or even when you will be dead. This is the state of affairs in 21st century India. 

Your next question will be how do you know this. Well I have seen it happening many times in front of my eyes and I have heard the same from my colleagues all over India. 

Let's take case scenario number 2. You have a lump in your throat which is not getting better or a recurrent abdominal pain. You go to the doctor and you are given a diagnosis of cancer. If you want a treatment which has any chances of increasing your chance of survival you need lakhs of rupees to cover the cost. you run from pillar to post, take help from friends, romans, country men and your relatives. But that's not enough. You die in front of your family. But that is not all. You leave them alone and financially ruined. They are destroyed emotionally and financially. 

Why are we in this situation? who is responsible for all this? Can this be changed? Who will change it? Let me tell you the answers to all these questions are very complicated. But should we try changing this? The answer is plain and simple yes. 

Health care is not a luxury but in our country it is. And we need to change that. Health care and good, decent health care is a right of every citizen of this country. Let's work towards it. There are different models all over the world. US, UK Europe. We need our own model but we need it fast and furious because we don't know who will be the next victim on NH-8 and who will develop that lump in the throat? What I want from you is urgency because urgency saves lives and complacency is what we have got till now. It will take time or it is ok, we are trying, is not OK. We can't leave our health care policy in the hands of some hardworking IAS or well meaning politician or a doctor who is doing it on his own without any help. It has to be a people's movement. We need a National Health Mission which should give us results and that too quickly. Desperate times need desperate measures.

Dr. Alok Jha, MD Physician, Board Eligible for Family Medicine
 
Specialist, Family Medicine & Occupational Health

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