Importance of Rural India vis-a-vis Indian Healthcare Reforms - Government of India Initiatives

Written by Dr. Sameer Sippy | Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team  on Apr 19, 2013
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Government of India Initiatives

a) Health Policy

The Government of India in association with the respective states has developed a very comprehensive policy on healthcare aiming at achieving a phenomenal growth in this sector. A special mention regarding the concept of community participation is contained in national health policy and is given much importance at the grass root levels.

The broad areas of community participation at grass root levels are reflected in the rolling out of village health services scheme, the Anganwadi scheme of ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme) and the formation of village level committees. Various Non–Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are engaged in villages and remote areas for effective management of various issues pertaining to healthcare sector, upliftment of healthcare facilities in rural areas and to eradicate the problems faced by the villagers.

Community participation has been successfully used in effectively tackling disease control programmes such as malaria and in areas pertaining to the provision and maintenance of drinking water schemes and sanitation. The main constraint to community participation is the low priority given to health by the community as compared to the schemes that provide direct financial benefit or high liquidity. A huge campaign to eradicate poliomyelitis through pulse polio immunization (PPI) programmes was initiated in 1995 and a decade later, India has achieved significant success only due to the involvement of these organizations that focus their time and energy on rural healthcare.

b) Social Welfare

The Government of India has established an extensive social welfare system. Numerous programs have been designed and implemented for the betterment and enhancement in quality of life for the economically and socially depressed and weaker sections amongst the citizens of Indian society which are enlisted below:

► Basic needs for any human being - food, clothing, shelter, access to education and healthcare and availability of water for drinking purposes accompanied with social security programmes

► Services for blind, deaf, dumb, mentally retarded and orthopedically handicapped

► Programs for displaced individuals and increased participation in rural community development

► Programs for welfare of women by incorporating - welfare grants, women's education, working women's hostels, family planning & maternity care, respect for the girl child, gender equality issues etc

► Special measures aimed at rehabilitating juvenile delinquents, sex workers and individuals convicted by law

► Social welfare programs during times of natural calamities or disasters such as drought, earthquakes, flood, famine, tsunami, volcanic eruption etc

► Eradicating illiteracy, poverty, untouchability etc.

In addition to the aforementioned initiatives, the Government of India and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are striving hard and working to achieve the much needed goals in social sector such as:-

► Organizing awareness campaigns at various level on Social Evils ( Women discrimination, Child marriages, Gender discrimination, Anti-dowry, Anti Alcoholism, No Tobacco, Child Trafficking, Female infanticide, Gambling, Sati, Flesh trade and witchcraft)

► Rehabilitation centres for Socially Vulnerable groups ( Migration, Persons with disability, Senior Citizens and Orphans/ Street Children, Displaced individuals )

► Providing Social Security Schemes (Right to Food, Housing, Pension benefits and Employment opportunities)

► Aiming to provide content, data, right to information (RTI), products & services for generating awareness and to sensitize the rural communities regarding the subject.


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The first 5 paragraphs of the article are meaningful. The suggestion - "A paradigm shift from the current 'Bio-medical model' to a 'socio-cultural model', that should bridge the gaps and improve quality of rural life, is the current need of the hour and an answer to the prevailing scenario in India" - is fine but how this is going to be implemented is the question. The answer is not to set up a new course for rural doctors.

The reason for the present state of affairs is the blind adoption of the 'biomedical model' of western medicine. The same has landed the health care scenario in the US in a state of mess by becoming unaffordably expensive, not to speak of the role played by the insurance companies.

Worldwide, mind-body-spirit medicine is being recognised as simplifying medicine and healthcare and is being talked about as Era 3 medicine. We have forgotten the philosophy of mind-body-spirit medicine, which is fundamental to our own Ayurveda and which is in consonance with our socio-cultural model.

The Medical Council of India needs to take a hard look into such basic matters, if a longlasting solution is to be found for the health care disparity.

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