Healthcare for the commoner
The health of the common people reflects the health of a nation. It is essential to a socialist and democratic state to ensure the prevalence of a fair degree of public health and to facilitate for the common man hassle-free access to basic to necessary healthcare. Although we stand very proud on the constitutional ideals that categorically uphold the will and well-being of the people, when it comes to implementation, that gaping distance between what ought to be and what is, is one to bring embarrassment. Healthcare is as complex a sector as it is crucial: the requirement of quality manpower and its management for optimal result is no simple feat in a socialist democracy like India. The very intricate network of a variety of professional demands and requirements make healthcare sector one whose any anomaly cannot be addressed in isolation. Beginning with education, the training of doctors has severely compromised on the quality of young professionals produced, owing largely to the inadequate number of seats in reputed colleges (reputed for providing quality learning and the facilities to enable such learning) and numerous medical colleges mushroomed across the country. After the vigorous struggle at the very basic level, the dearth of hospitals and suitable medical facilities add to the unreasonable workload of government-employed doctors; the pitiable, well-below-recommended doctor-patient ratio, substandard facilities, lack of convenient connectivity and accessibility in general make a doctor's job in India far much harder. Add to the tendency of Indian relatives to lash out on the doctor in case of death. The trust deficit between the family of the patient and doctors is yet another factor that fuels this kind of outburst that is rather common, unfortunately, across the country. The incident at Kolkata's NRS Hospital that made national headline is a case in point: the demise of an elderly patient led to a situation which proved the far graver implications than just bringing to standstill the hospital administration at large. It is definitely not unpredictable what might become of a society in the absence of a well-functioning healthcare system. Coming to facilities that a reasonable hospital must be equipped with, the epidemic that has struck Bihar's Muzaffarpur area screams loud and clear of the need to have in place some very basic components of healthcare facilities, beginning with a reasonable number of doctors to attend to the host of patients coming in. The not-so-distant incident of Gorakhpur where several children had to die in a hospital due to lack of oxygen is, in fact, murder if sate and administration could commit it. And yet again children have died there of acute encephalitis syndrome. There is an urgent need for upgraded and better-maintained infrastructure in combination with coordinated facilities for the convenience of the common man. Redressing the issue by privatising is not the solution, commercialisation and profit motive do no good to public health. It is the government which must effectively come to rescue.