Achieving True Independence Through Good Health
Every year on the 15th of August, we, as a country, celebrate this historic day of our freedom, sovereignty and independence. The beloved tiranga soars high in the sky jubilantly while children, youth and the elderly come together united by the spirit of patriotism. For those fortunate ones who have lived through the 90s, A R Rahman’s Maa Tujhe Salaam stirs up a ton of memories, never failing to make our hearts swell up with pride.
But beneath the patriotism is an undercurrent of the argument ‘Are we truly independent?’ Every year, the country questions itself whether it is truly liberated. And every time there is an answer, it focuses on the financial independence or the sovereignty of India as a nation. But how about the idea of independence through good health?
As a country, are we truly liberated on the health front? Our biggest population bracket, youngsters aged 21-35, are overworked and stressed. Students are burdened by terrifyingly high expectations. The older generation is swamped by an array of health problems that need advanced medical expertise. And the middle aged generation is paranoid about the inevitable health risks of ageing in the future.
Health, in our country, is clearly ignored. In spite of being the land of Yoga and Ayurveda, our fellow citizens are in dire need of good healthcare. Malnutrition, high infant mortality, poor sanitation, lack of safe drinking water, poor rural health and female health are all issues that plague us as a nation.
This year, can we unite as a country to spread awareness about health and to pledge strength and stamina for ourselves? Can we come together as a nation and take responsibility for a better future? On a national as well as an individual front, if we can make sure we practise these ideas, it would do a lot to improve our country’s health and make us truly independent.
- Better access to medicines – The ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana’ aims to open 3000 new generic drug stores across the country. While the government is doing its bit, as individuals, we should contribute as well. The next time you learn about a person in need of medicines, do your bit to help them out. As well-to-do people from the urban sector, we can give medicines to our maids, drivers, watchmen, handymen and anybody who needs them.
- Encourage innovation – The healthcare and medical industry has come a long way in the past 500 years. As you read this article, many scientists and medical experts are fostering innovation in their labs. Last year, ‘The Better India’ reported 3 out-of-the-box medical innovations which include an instant oxygen producing kit, anaesthetic suppliers for rural women and a program to help 15,000 children with hearing impairments (Source). Can we encourage more such innovative breakthroughs in 2016?
- Health policies –The National Health Policy was introduced back in 1983 and updated in 2002. It is due for an update again in 2017 and an early draft has already been released by the Government (Source). The policy has major focal points that include –
- to harmonize multiple health initiatives run by different departments
- to establish an implementation unit that can coordinate, track and monitor the execution of various policies
- to ensure healthcare is affordable and that the needy have cashless access to quality health services
Let’s help make sure that our government has a strong health policy in the coming year.
Like the popular saying ‘Health is wealth’ stresses the importance of an individual’s health, in the 70th year of India’s Independence, let’s unite to make our country healthy, wealthy and wise.
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