Health Policy Changes for Maintaining Equity at the Disadvantaged Level
Health is a condition of emotional, physical and social well being where infirmity and illness are absent. It involves our emotions as well as the internal processes in our body and therefore it also comprises of the three aspects of the psychology of health, which include physiological, psychological, and social aspects. Health is important for all of us and we cannot survive without it in our lives. However, with increasing awareness and information about health and its various aspects, people are now more aware of their bodies and how to maintain their health and fitness.
The definition of Health is essential to know ourselves and the need of each individual to live a good life. In the contemporary times, many concepts and systems have evolved in order to understand the concepts of wellbeing. Health is now a major determinant of the level of productivity and life expectancy in many parts of the world. It is now used in defining health care processes and policies.
The definition of Health is used extensively in the public health arena as it determines the level of health maintenance services needed by an individual at his/her respective community. The best example is the Community Health Promotion Program under the National Health Service. Under this program a community is provided with information on preventative services, general practitioner services and specific programs relating to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, STDs, pregnancy, smoking etc. The presence of a health professional at the community’s head office provides access to the most effective treatment systems for the entire community irrespective of his or her geographical location.
Health is essential for the proper functioning of a society and for the economic development of a nation. It is also crucial for the individual’s mental wellbeing and to achieve optimum levels of wellness, a person should be mentally healthy. It has been proven that overall happiness and health are directly associated with the quality of life. Mental health services include preventing the onset of various diseases and disorders such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, vision problems etc. This is just but a tip of an iceberg; there are many more aspects of public health which will be discussed in future.
The Health Gap is widening each year and is now very alarming in some countries like India and Nigeria. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), there are several health disparity indicators like deaths from AIDS, HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality, infant mortality, deaths from cancer, renal disease, tooth gap etc. India has always remained far behind in all the fields and has always remained one of the poorest hit areas when compared to other Asian countries. The major cause for these discrepancies is the lack of primary health care facilities which are provided at the most meager cost. According to an analysis, nine out of ten people living in India are without proper health insurance coverage.
Moving Forward with the implementation of the Health Insurance policy designed by National Health Commission and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHOFW) alongside policies to tackle social determinants, would bring a drastic change in addressing disparities in health outcomes. It will bring the focus on equity, as the least deprived get the benefits at reduced rates. Also, the focus on quality of life would strengthen and improve the ill-health condition among all sections of society. Finally, pursuing forward with the policy changes will enable the Government to take charge and take responsibility by ensuring that every citizen is insured and his health status is addressed by the providers.