Monday, July 14, 2008

State sponsored medical care

In India, the state does not provide medical care for citizens. Many countries do.

I have seen 2 known people die because they did not have the money for dialysis. This is a shame.

In a country like ours where the population is so huge, is state sponsored medical care really an option? It all depends on what the priorities of the government are. It really requires the issue to be thought through. For instance, which is more important - education or health care? I would of course say it is health care. If you are not alive, what will an education do for you? I'm sure opinions will vary though.

Treatments like dialysis are really quite expensive and not everyone can afford them. Should we allow people to die because of this? I know a few organizations that offer subsidized dialysis. This might be a good start but the reach of these organizations is minuscule.

I recently heard of a government scheme called 'Rajiv Arogyasree'. Now, I don't know the details about this scheme but I have learned that many people have been able to get a transplant because of this scheme.

Maybe we need to start somewhere and have some kind of scheme which is:

1. Government sponsored
2. Only for people who cannot afford medical care
3. For life threatening conditions

This can be gradually be expanded to make it more far reaching.

I do realize that the logistics of implementing even such a basic program are mind-numbing. But it is high time we made a small start in this regard.

2 comments:

Santu said...

Kamal,

Yes, I completely agree to you !! In fact, I just cannot be more compelled to say this today. I was discussing this with Kalyan this morning, and to find that you have to post this blog post that too today of all days, is rather coincidental.

In recent study that I had to do for one of the courses, I was asked to compare the GDPs of the Scandinavian countries and comment on how their economies compared to that of the Indian economy. A startling revelation that in spite of the per capita income in India being much lower than that of all the Scandinavian countries put together, yet the total collection to the Indian exchequer in terms of revenue and tax collections is astoundingly one and a half times more than all of the Scandinavian collections.

Now, where does all that money go? Where is the accountability? Even the Comptroller & Auditor General, which the overall audit authority in India, is dead. There is no accountability there too. Its all in the hiding game. Where can I hide all those gunny bags filled with black money.

The public distribution system is almost in a shambles.

What we need is a pan-indic alternative (non-governmental) set up that can provide these responsibilities.

I believe truly and wholly in "outsourcing". If you are not good in something, have it outsourced. Just concentrate on your strong points and you are bound to deliver.

Hence, if the government hives off its subsidiary functions and transfer this responsibility to the many NGOs that function and just function as a caretaker, I am sure in a country like India, we can see rural and urban healthcare develop in leaps and bounds.

There are bound to be many benefits of this both monetary and otherwise, the economic discussion of which I shall keep to another day.

But, I am sure, if the GOI (Government of India), shows the right attitude, it would surely develop the overall healthcare situation in the country.

A good beginning would be to replace Anbumani Ramadoss as the Central Health Minister. May be transfer him to "Head of Prasar Bharati" and the "Indian Censor Board", for he is more concerned on who smokes more cigarettes on screen Amitabh or SRK..... (note... SRK is Shahrukh Khan and not Santosh RamaKrishnan)

Regards,
Santu !!

Anonymous said...

lol. agree with Ramadoss should be replaced. Its ironic how such people get to the parliament!!
Well, that should be a topic for another post.
Coming to the Rajiv Arogyasree, I did hear of success stories there... first hand. People who cannot afford the medicines and the expensive operation are benefited. Will update once I get the correct info.
Did I mention how people are generally skeptical about Govt hospitals and docs. They've great confidence on the corporate ones.