Like I wrote in the beginning of this article, the answer lies in the show itself. It doesn’t mean the show had some miraculous remedy.
It’s ‘attitude’ my dear friends.
Like Aamir was reacting, as if it was a revelation, on every bit of information already in the public domain (at least, victims do feel it all the time – and majority of the India has been victim of the miserable health care system), it is almost same with our policymakers.
The difference is Aamir is trying to do something while our politicians prefer not to do anything. One might be unaware owing to his upbringing but the other lot prefers to remain unaware.
Unawareness that is going beyond all the acceptable limits!
Policies for the larger India – poor, battered, cursed to live in dark and silence – are framed in closed doors of granite glazed and Italian marble carpeted rooms of Delhi and the state capital cities.
And the current breed of our policymakers look awfully insane when it comes to framing policies reflecting the need of the Indian on the street, be it mapping a village or a small township or some large urban centre.
Either they are career politicians, cushioned in the Parliament for decades, who have comfortably forgotten the miseries being faced daily by an ordinary Indian; or they are the heirs of the political dynasties born with the silver-spoon; or they are rich industrialists or celebrities like Vijay Mallya or Jaya Bachchan, not in touch with the grass roots social needs; or they simply represent the increasing number of politicians loaded with criminal cases against them. The current breed has very few of the politicians who represent a self-built career on social needs and grass-roots level politics.
And health care rights are one major victim of the increasing policymaking paralysis due to the insensitive politicking most of these politicians exercise. Health care services are one of the major sources of corruption given the huge capital and deliverables involved. NRHM (National Rural Health Mission) is one of the biggest scams in the Indian administrative and political history.
And why it happens. Again the unawareness factor!
Most of the Indians even in the urban centers are not aware of their rights (owing to the various socioeconomic maladies mentioned above) resulting in the open loot by the doctors and government officials. It is an open fact that no one want to visit a government hospital to consult a doctor. Only compulsions force patients there. The misery is in calamitous proportions in rural and tribal areas. How can we forget that our great democracy incarcerated Dr. Binayak Sen for over three years for raising voice for health care rights of tribal and rural people?
Health care (like other killing issues, i.e., literacy hunger, etc.) is in shambles in India and needs an immediate swipe but, again, the million dollar question, is, HOW? Let’s see how the ground realities stack up:
A UNICEF report says one in every three malnourished children in the world lives in India. The report further says, “In India, around 46 per cent of all children below the age of three are too small for their age, 47 per cent are underweight and at least 16 per cent are wasted. Many of these children are severely malnourished.
Malnutrition in India is roughly around 46 percent. It has fallen only six percentage points since economic reforms started gaining pace in 1991 while the GDP per capita boomed by 50 percent during the same period. It clearly shows increasing social disparity with majority still living at the bottom of the pyramid.
Government of India defines coverage area of a primary health centre to be 100 villages and 100000 of population by one doctor. According to a report, 64.9 percent of community health centers report lacking specialists while 68.6 percent of PHCs function with only one or no qualified doctor. Also we can understand the negligence by the government machinery as public expenditure has stagnated at just 1 percent of GDP over the last two decades against WHO’s recommended 5 percent.
According to 2006 figures, doctor to population ratio in India was 60:100000 (.24 dcotors per 400 of the population).
Do these figures tell something? YES!
Do they buzz on the ears of our policymakers? NO!
Dear doctors, at least, you do something. Ask your brothers and sisters to be brotherly and sisterly with other fellow Indians.
I firmly believe there are many 'Dr. Binayak Sens'.
The need for something to be done is urgent. This article is not inspired by the TV show, yes but it stirred me to write on the issue. We all need to feel, and more importantly, act.
For the moment, the solution remains elusive, like the spirit of our democracy, like the soul of Mahatma’s ‘Ram-rajya’.