The sustainable development goal (SDG) 03 ensures good health for everyone and promotes well-being. The health issues faced by the countries are different. Some developing countries are trying to deal with the issues like malnourishment, early pregnancies, and infant mortality. Developing countries on the other hand are finding it difficult to deal with chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and mental illness.
Some of the challenges observed in the health care sector in India are: (i) Lack of awareness for health (ii) Lack of access to health care (iii) Lack of workforce (iv) Costly treatments and diagnostics and (v) lack of accountability. Education is considered to be the key to development. All the challenges of the healthcare sector can be overcome through education.
Most Indian women lack basic awareness related to breastfeeding, menstrual hygiene, and reproductive health. Some of the reasons for this are the low educational status of the women and less importance on health. The awareness among the people can be improved through education. When women are aware of health care, they can take of themselves and also their families. Access to health care is determined by the availability, utilization, and supply of services. The access to health care in urban areas is better as compared to rural and remote places. The social and cultural domains and the stereotypes of society are some of the factors that affect access to health care in rural areas. The hospitals in rural areas lack basic facilities like beds, drinking water, ambulance, medicines, and diagnostic labs. The people have to travel to cities in emergency situations and many of them lose their lives due to the delay in treatment. Educated youth will be aware of their rights. The knowledge will help them to raise voices against system-related issues; initiate discussions among the communities to get rid of the stereotypes, analyze the barriers and formulate solutions.
The number of healthcare professionals is very less and unevenly distributed. Residents of villages are dependent on the primary health center (PHC) for their treatment. PHCs in many villages lack a sufficient number of doctors and trained supporting staff. Hospitals with qualified and experienced doctors and trained staff are available in metro cities. The people from the villages and the small towns have to go to the cities for better or advanced treatment. The gap in the number of doctors compared to the population of the country was observed a lot during the pandemic. This gap of insufficient doctors and healthcare staff can be reduced by encouraging more youngsters to join the medical field, increasing the number of colleges providing medical-related courses, and making the education of the medical stream affordable. Many Indian students do not opt for medical streaming due to the monetary burden levied by the high educational expenses. The lack of healthcare staff and their localization in the urban areas has given rise to another problem of making healthcare services unaffordable for most Indians. The facilities and the doctors available at the lower levels are either fewer in number or do not possess the ability to deal with a chronic and critical illnesses. The cost of diagnosis and other health-related tests are so high that a moderately earning person will lose all his earned money for the treatment in case anyone from the family is diagnosed with some deadly disease.
The Government though is working hard to make health care services affordable by introducing novel schemes for the economically weaker sections of the country; due to a lack of awareness, many of them are able to make use of it. Moreover, the procedure for the Government schemes should be made easier and free from corruption. Wasteful expenditure for unwanted tests should be avoided. Educated youths can be able to avoid more expenditure on tests as they are conscious of the cost needs. They are conscious of unwanted expenditures spent on testing procedures. As they are aware of the economics of health care, youth will be able to address it. Accountability is lacking among the people working in the health sector as many of them are unable to justify and take responsibility for their activities. Lack of accountability among health professionals is a hotly discussed issue as it reduces the quality of care and put patients’ lives at risk. Accountability improves trust among patients and doctors, decreases the misusage of resources, and helps health organizations to provide better services. Many people lose their lives every year due to medical mistakes or negligence of the medical staff. The people are unable to question accountability as they are not informed about the policies and procedures given by the Government. The culture of accountability should be promoted among the people who are choosing careers in medical care during the academic curriculum. They should be informed not only about the rules but should be trained in common values, motivation, and teamwork.
The issues and challenges may differ for countries but the goal remains the same: achieving the SDGs by 2030. So let’s work together and support each other for a common cause of good health and well-being for everyone.
Courtesy: Dr. Anjum Nazir Qureshi,
Assistant Professor, Rajiv Gandhi College of Engineering Research and Technology, Chandrapur
Educator, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, Meditation Coach, Global Speaker and Freelance Trainer