Health Care in India

In the wake of globalization, we are singing paeans of praise on our world class hospitals and even medical tourism. We seem to gloat over the fact that patients from come all the way to India for treatment and at one-third of the cost in their own country.

And sure are reports that some of our top multi-specialty hospitals are opening branches in other countries.

There is no doubt that first class medicine is available for those who can afford it. And again, India is among the largest producers of vaccine and the Serum Institute of India in Pune (Maharashtra) makes 675 million doses of vaccine each day and sends them across the world to as many as 137 countries.

And we are conducting trials of vaccine against HIV/AIDS and forging ahead in stem cell research. All this makes India ‘shine’

But how can we ever ignore the plight of millions in urban and rural India who do not have any access to the minimum basic Medicare.

This is reflected in the high infant mortality rate, child mortality rate, maternal mortality rate and mortality on account of such diseases as TB (tuberculosis), Malaria, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever or dengue hemorrhagic fever.

When TB has been by and large eradicated from most of the developed world, one fails to understand why India still accounts for nearly one-third of the global TB burden.

There are approximately 18 lakh fresh cases in the country every year, of which approximately 8 lakh cases are highly infectious and sputum positive.

Each sputum Positive case, if not treated, infects ten to fifteen persons a year. Two persons die from TB in India every three of minutes and over 1,000 people every day.

Isn’t it a matter great shame that India, poised to become a great economic power, is witness to 4.17 lakh deaths annual caused byte? Can’t we avoid this great tragedy if we care? The crux of matter is that the so called National Tuberculosis Control Programme, initiated in 1962 alone cannot tackle it.