Develop with care
Economic growth is possible only if people are healthy. Disease prevention should, therefore, be the mantra of development
MODI'S MANTRA of development was crucial in the victory of Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.But careless development could cost people their health. This significantly hampers economic growth.
The latest World Health Statistics released by the World Health Organization show that for every 100,000 people, India lost 13,613 years of life due to non-communicable diseases and 14,186 years of life due to communicable diseases in 2012. “Years of life lost” is a measure of premature death.
Many times, diseases kill people in the prime of their working lives. Economic impact of these deaths is high. A who estimate suggests that India could lose between $23 billion and $53 billion a year in national income due to deaths from heart diseases, strokes and diabetes between 2005 and 2015. There is no estimate for losses due to communicable diseases.
Despite the growing burden of diseases, the United Progressive Alliance government allocated a meagre 1.3 per cent of the gdp for healthcare in the 12th Plan. The new government will have to increase the budget.But it should not focus only on curative care. Prevention of diseases will, however, be a challenge for the government. For example, to prevent exposure to chemicals in food products the government will have to check the use of colourants, artificial sweeteners and trans fats. This will significantly affect the food industry, which uses the additives to lure customers. Similarly, to protect people from harmful impacts of particulate matter pollution in the air, the government will have to limit private cars and promote public transport that run on clean fuel.
Healthcare has been one of the most neglected aspects of governance in India since Independence. As bjp starts its innings at the Centre, it must heed a few words of advice.
1.Invest in health. Estimates show total healthcare expenditure by the Indians is 3.9 per cent of the gdp. Most of it is borne by the sick. This often pushes people to poverty. To ensure healthcare for all, the government must spend at least 5 per cent of the gdp.
2.Prevention is crucial.So the government must ensure access to safe water, air, food and areas for physical activity.
3. Give priority to health impacts during the environmental impact assessment of projects. Polluting industries should be allowed only if they adopt adequate environment protection measures.
4.Improve public healthcare services.If development can reach rural areas, so can healthcare.
Diseases make people infirm or kill them in the prime of their working lives. This hampers economic growth