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Friday, December 11, 2009

Healthcare in India

AIIMS' students educating slum dwellers in Delhi about water-borne diseases.
Healthcare in India is the responsibility of constituent states and territories of India. The Constitution charges every state with "raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties". The National Health Policy was endorsed by the Parliament of India in 1983 and updated in 2002.[1]
The art of Health Care in India can be traced back nearly 3500 years. From the early days of Indian history the Aryurvedic tradition of medicine has been practiced. During the rule of Emperor Ashoka Maurya (third century B.C.E.), schools of learning in the healing arts were created. Many valuable herbs and medicinal combinations were created. Even today many of these continue to be used. During his rein there is evidence that Emperor Ashoka was the first leader in world history to attempt to give health care to all of his citizens, thus it was the India of antiquity which was the first state to give it's citizens national health care.
In recent times India has eradicated mass famines, half of children in India are underweight, one of the highest rates in the world and nearly the same rate of Sub-Saharan Africa. Water supply and sanitation in India continue to be a challenged, only one of three Indians has access to improved sanitation facilities such as toilet. India's HIV/AIDS epidemic is a growing threat. Cholera epidemics are not unknown. The maternal mortality in India is the second highest in the world.
Providing healthcare and disease prevention to India’s growing population of more than a billion people becomes challenging in the face of increased competition for resources. 2.47 million people in India are estimated to be HIV positive. India is one of the four countries worldwide where polio has not as yet been successfully eradicated and one third of the world’s tuberculosis cases are in India [2].
According to the World Health Organization 900,000 Indians die each year from drinking contaminated water and breathing in polluted air [3]. As India grapples with these basic issues, new challenges are emerging for example there is a rise in chronic adult diseases such as cardiovascular illnesses and diabetes as a consequence of changing lifestyles [4].
There are vast disparities in people’s health even among the different states across the country largely attributed to the resource allocation by the state governments where some states have been more successful than others. Better efforts are needed by the local governments to ensure that the health services provided are actually reaching the poor in worst-affected areas.
However, at the same time, India's health care system also includes entities which are world class. The Apollo set of hospitals are considered amougst Asia's most advanced hospitals. Many patients seeking treatment from even from Pakistan have come here. In November 2008, a Pakistani girl was operated on for heart problems. Thus, India's health care system has progressed and is a leader in South East Asia.
1 Medical professionals
2 Diseases
3 Issues
3.1 Malnutrition
3.2 Women
3.3 Water and sanitation
4 Healthcare Infrastructure
5 Central government role
6 Expenditure
7 Primary services
8 Health Insurance
9 Medical Tourism
10 Rate of growth
11 See also
12 References
13 External links

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