The biggest challenge for India is the dual fight of containing a ‘developing’ country’s health concerns while a flare-up of ‘developed’ world disorders are at its doorstep.
Since independence, the country has also eradicated two deadly pandemics – polio, and smallpox.
In 1947, the expectancy of an average Indian citizen was around 32 years and it has increased to 70.19 years in 2022.
Since independence, several health initiatives and programs were launched to check the unabated menace of annual diseases like Malaria, Dengue, and communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
Since its independence, India has developed in all sectors, undoubtedly. From world-class educational institutes to agriculture, but especially in the healthcare sector. There are multiple evidence that points toward the achievement of the country’s development. The biggest challenge for India is the dual fight of containing a ‘developing’ country’s health concerns while a flare-up of ‘developed’ world disorders are at its doorstep. On one hand, India is combating basic health concerns such as malnutrition, low immunization rates, hygiene, sanitation, and infectious diseases. On the other hand, environmental pollution and lifestyle choices such as alcohol consumption, smoking, and high-fat diet are set to increase the incidence rates of hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes and cancer to almost epidemic levels.
Even after these challenges, India is successfully running on the road to achieving milestones. Here are a few achievements in the health sector since independence: Tackling pandemics The most recent scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic and India’s tremendous efforts in dealing with the virus should be written in golden words. The manufacturing of vaccines against the virus was applauded by the entire world. India did not just immunise its population but also sent the vaccines across borders to other countries.
Since independence, the country has also eradicated two deadly pandemics – polio, and smallpox. India received ‘Polio-free certification’ from World Health Organization on 27 March 2014, with the last polio case being reported in Howrah in West Bengal on 13 January 2011. Vaccination prevented smallpox infection in 95% of individuals who have received it. Furthermore, the vaccination thwarted or significantly abated the illness when administered within a few days of being exposed to the variola virus. Eventually, India declared itself free of smallpox in 1979.
Life expectancy has improved In the last 75 years, India has improved tremendously with respect to life expectancy. In 1947, the expectancy of an average Indian citizen was around 32 years and it has increased to 70.19 years in 2022. The increase in life expectancy in the last 75 years has been over 100 per cent. United Nations-World Population Perspective states that the average global life expectancy is 72.98 years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India has significantly improved its people’s health outcomes.
Several studies have revealed that India’s life expectancy has increased due to the better availability of treatments, medicines, and evolving technology. The current life expectancy for India in 2022 is 70.19 years which is a 0.33 per cent increase from 2021. Decrease in infant and maternal mortality Post-independence India’s most noteworthy achievement, in the public health arena, has been the decrease in death rates (mortality). In terms of infant mortality, there has been an improvement between 1951 and 2000, such that the number of deaths in the youngest age group has fallen to 70 from 146 per 1000. Similar trends were observed from 2001 to 2006 with regards to maternal mortality, that is, 254 rather than 301 maternal deaths per 1,00,000 births. However, in both instances, the total number of women and young children dying in India partially due to the population growth – continues to be among the highest in the world. Health initiative programs Since independence, several health initiatives and programs were launched to check the unabated menace of annual diseases like Malaria, Dengue, and communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. According to various statistics, millions were affected with Malaria in the 50s as compared to a few hundred now. With the help of various initiatives run by the National Leprosy Eradication Program, chronic, infectious diseases have seen subsequent low numbers. Leprosy is now endemic in several states with an annual detection rate of 4.56 per 10,000 people. Over the decades, the government has launched schemes like National Health Mission (NHM) and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to improve child and maternal health. Meanwhile, there are schemes that are launched as a part of these missions including Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) enables direct cash transfer to pregnant mothers, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) allows pregnant mothers to deliver in government hospitals for free, Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matrutva Abhiyan (PMSMA) focuses on providing good antenatal care and specifically identifying and managing high-risk pregnant mothers. In 2018, a centrally-sponsored Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) was launched which is the largest Government funded health assurance/insurance scheme in the world. In this scheme, financial risk protection is provided by the government against catastrophic health expenditure that impoverishes an estimated 6 crore people every year. Moreover, the government has launched several other schemes like Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), enhanced the quality of medical education in the country and the extensive improvement in healthcare infrastructure since independence. With over 92,000 seats, there are now 612 medical colleges in India as compared to 28 in the 1950s. Enhancing supply strength and developing skilled manpower Post-independence, India launched a 3-tier healthcare model with PHCs at the rural level, secondary care at the district level & tertiary care at the regional level. These necessitated us to structurally look at the prevailing number of medical colleges, significantly increasing the ratio of doctors to the general public. The creation of an Auxiliary Nursing & Midwifery (ANM) laid the foundation for increasing the availability of nurses and provisioning skilled manpower, in remote areas. This resulted in improved coverage of institutional deliveries. Institutional delivery is giving birth in a healthcare facility or under the supervision of a trained professional. The share of institutional deliveries in the country has improved to 88.6 per cent in 2021. This has also been a factor of a substantial increase in the penetration of private healthcare in various cities across the country. Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers further boosted supply across various parts of the country. Today we have nearly one million ASHA workers who help in strengthening immunization for children across. Ministry of Family Health (MoFH) has now launched LaQshya which is focused on improving medical infrastructure in all regional, district and rural healthcare facilities.
Courtesy:- News 9 Live