Fond recollection of historical times, serves to remind us that healthcare is integral to human survival. The problem of hubris and special interests stops the speedy progress of healthcare around the world. Healthcare by all governments must be looked upon with sanctimonious reverence, because healthcare alone is responsible for the column of human progress in manifold ways.
Let us ask ourselves, if our politics protected healthcare and human life, why then are smoking lounges permitted at airports. Why do mothers in 2019 die because of pro-poor policies which protect poverty. How do we embrace the fact that a cricket league or a football match becomes headline grabbing news, but when children die, when adolescents take to drugs and when the powerful energies of youth are washed away in an instance, that does not become news?
The politics of our times must understand that in many nations and in many regions of the world, the opinions and beliefs of men, the cultures that surround them, the practices that they have followed are often clouded and not of their own will, but followed by involuntarily where they have been guided and an interjection becomes important. The bureaucracy must learn to appreciate human life beyond mere numbers seen through the prism of statistical sciences.
Reclaiming the idea of healthcare will genuinely build nations for subsequent centuries to come by, will also set the compass in the direction of pointing the ocean of time opening inwards. This also comes with increased budgetary allocations, deep seated grass-root level interventions and a progressive collaboration which includes everyone. That’s the price every nation must be willing to pay for.
The global healthcare agenda involves consequences so lasting and the after-effects of interventions, so decisive that our future destinies are tied to those outcomes.
Every healthcare provider around the world in their respective country must ask a question to themselves. Has healthcare in their surrounding been better because they have lived? If the answer is no, then it is a shame, a shame that each healthcare provider must suffer in private and wake up to do their bit.
Infectious diseases tend to rise when health and poverty get mixed. Poverty holds different forms in different countries and each intervention calls for different patterns of approach not usually found in textbooks or in guidelines. Likewise, changing world pattern in terms of non-communicable diseases, access to tobacco, drugs and rising issues of mental health push for greater attention in the global spaces and among partners working to improve the healthcare agenda.
In the real world scenario, there are still too many places where health services remain rudimentary in nature, hospitals and clinics suffering from ignorant and ill-informed staff and where doctors and nurses peddle back and forth on black markets, patients who sell kidneys for making a living, still worse are patients who often out of desperation sell antibiotics and purchase food products and dumb pharmacists who also mix up first line tuberculosis medications along with cough medicines. Practitioners of the trade need to understand that healthcare is a life’s work and a lifelong process of never-ending constant wheel of improvement which calls for regular enhancement in terms of life and outcomes.
Many a times, public health workers feel left out of the inner circles of decision making processes, but many of them also long for a more comfortable life and do not wish to struggle. They look for a better pay scale, and wish to find comfort with little or no experience. The destinies of many countries are not changed because the public health cadre has not done too much and because they have been comfortable for too long doing little. Many I am sure, would like to live a life where they see change before their eyes, but most would prefer being comfortable in their zones where their pay scale supersedes everything else and beyond.
The other hypothesis possible is also the fact that warnings of epidemiologists have never been adhered to by politicians who understand little and bureaucrats who carry a baggage of weight around their shoulders.
Healthcare will move into the future based on the importance of intentions and the power of will, but it will also need to be built up by lifting others up, by working together and patting each other’s back. The story of healthcare can be won only by collaborative zeal and purpose, finance included. In the end, we all work hard for humanity. Humanity must win. Healthcare for all must be realized in our lifetime.
The writer is member of Health Task Force, DDMA, Government of Karnataka & CEO, Center for Health and Development, Mangaluru. [Courtesy- ToI]