IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 29th July 2020
“The number one reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family, and neighbors.” –Napoleon Hill
EDITORIAL HUNT #108 :“Wealth is not always Health | UPSC“
Pulapre Balakrishnan is professor of Ashoka University, Sonipat.
Wealth is not always Health | UPSC
Adopting a public systems approach to COVID-19
Right now, India’s public health infrastructure and its responsiveness should be the principal concern of the government
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Health : Primary Health Care Centres
States of India harbouring greater wealth than most have registered a higher mortality rate from COVID-19.Clearly wealth is not always health. Discuss -(GS 3)
- Why some rich states are unable to control COVID-19 ?
- Why Smaller States are doing good . Ex : Goa
- What approach is needed ? Let us dive in !
- THE SURGE : The progress of COVID-19 in India varies across States.
- MORTALITY RATES : Maharashtra and Delhi have registered higher mortality rates than most States.
- HIGHEST MORTALITY : Gujarat is no longer the national epicentre but has registered the highest mortality rate of all.
- WEALTHY STATES : Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat are among the wealthiest regions of the country.
- RICHNESS IS NOT HEALTH : It would seem from this that for a society, wealth is not necessarily health.
The gist is , wealth and health are both related to Public Goods.
CHARACTERISTICS AND PROVISION
- ACCESSIBILITY : A public good has the characteristic that it is accessible to all.
- PUBLIC GOOD : Clean and sanitised public spaces made easy deployment of society’s public health infrastructure#public good.
- SENSE OF SECURITY : Members of a society benefit from the existence of a public good, which secures their health.
- STATES ON THE MARK : Two States of India with better public health infrastructure have diluted the impact of COVID-19 : Goa and Kerala.
- SYSTEMATIC APPROACH : The number of cases rose in the State but, as said, the death rate did not rise significantly.
- INFRASTRUCTURE : Public health infrastructure is to be understood as comprising hospitals and medical personnel.
- IMPORTANT ROLES : In a crisis, the role of the latter is perhaps more important.
- INCLUSIONS : The word- ‘personnel’ are more than just doctors.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND OUTCOME
- ESSENTIAL EXPERTISE : Health outcomes are the result of an interaction of level of expertise of health personnel to the civic sense of a population.
- CENTRALISED SYSTEM : The existence of a well-functioning public health infrastructure is central.
- BASIC INDICATORS : We can see a relationship between the level of public health infrastructure and mortality in these two sets of States.
- RESOURCE AVAILABILITY : Take the per person availability of allopathic doctors, hospitals and beds in the public sector.Maharashtra and Gujarat do much worse than Goa and Kerala.
- RESEARCH NEEDED : Even though much more research is needed to establish the role of the public health infrastructure .
- SPENDING SHARE : It is just that states chose to devote a far lower share of their national income to public health, despite their higher aggregate and per capita incomes.
- WEAK PREPARATIONS : Weaker public health infrastructure left them less resilient to the epidemic, resulting in higher mortality.
- JUDICIOUS USE : It has long been recognised that ‘how you use it’ may matter more than ‘how much you have’ when it comes to any asset, particularly public capital.
- ELEVENTH-HOUR : We may have only of late started worrying about our public health infrastructure .
- A BETTER APPROACH : A public systems approach is needed to first understand and then to address situations such the one we are now facing as the epidemic swirls about us.
- RECONSIDERATIONS : It takes into account both the physical resources available in the public domain and the practices adopted in governing their use.
- COUNT ON LAPSES : It is also a case of a lack of accountability in the public health sector.
“Death is not the only impact of COVID-19.There is also the distress it unleashes upon the living and the trauma that results from it.”