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Focus on Improving Sanitary Conditions, Cleanliness and Hygiene can Potentially Halve India's Healthcare Spends Says Council for Healthcare and Pharma

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 11-09-2019 11:03 IST | Created: 11-09-2019 10:53 IST
Focus on Improving Sanitary Conditions, Cleanliness and Hygiene can Potentially Halve India's Healthcare Spends Says Council for Healthcare and Pharma
Image Credit: Videoblocks

The Council for Healthcare and Pharma today said that it was no longer enough to emphasize the creation of expensive hospital infrastructure, as a panacea for all healthcare challenges facing the country. Equally important is the need to simultaneously encourage a robust true-to-character solution that keeps populations healthy while nipping illnesses in the bud, obviating the need for expensive hospital treatment. Expenses on treatment are strongly correlated to the severity of the problem and the chronic nature of the patient's condition. The more severe the illness, the more expensive the treatment. Altering this ratio can bring about huge savings for the country.

Sharing his concerns and optimism, Dr Gurpreet Sandhu, President, Council for Healthcare and Pharma, said, "Looking at the direct and indirect losses resulting from communicable diseases, the Country can save nearly 50 percent of its deleterious effects. Investment in improving the environment and sanitary conditions while enhancing primary healthcare coverage can yield exponential benefits for the country at the lowest cost. A paradigm shift in thinking and a deep commitment to the cause is required at the highest levels with support from the Government and the people to bring about this huge change. This is the low hanging fruit which the Country has been sorely missing."

According to the WHO, nearly 26 percent of total mortality in India, relates to communicable diseases, maternal, perinatal and nutritional deficiencies which are easily preventable. Lack of proper sanitation, poor hygienic conditions, rampant pollution are the major causes in the spread of communicable diseases which are mostly vector or air/waterborne.

Dengue and Malaria, flare-ups at this time of the year, post-monsoon, due to the proliferation of mosquitos that breed copiously in stagnant water is a recurring problem, year on year. Further, left uncontrolled, many of these cases land up in hospitals and require life-saving expensive medication and care when the position gets precarious.

Waterborne diseases like Typhoid, Cholera, Diarrhoea, Viral Hepatitis usually resulting from the intake of poor-quality water and ingesting infected food are treatable easily and inexpensively at Primary Health Centers. Unchecked they can be severely debilitating and result in expensive hospitalization. India loses over 73 million working days due to water-borne diseases, a stark revelation with a hugely negative impact.

Honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has been rightfully stressing the urgent need for a 'Swachh Bharat (Clean India)' movement and his immediate call for a ban on single-use plastics is therefore exemplary and farsighted in its approach. Virtually indestructible plastics are choking up the country's sewage and landfills causing grievous harm to land, marine life and crops. Rampant, improper and self-advised, use of medicines coupled with their improper disposal past their expiry date, is resulting in the rapid build-up of Microbial resistance in a manner that many of the antibiotics are being rendered ineffective. Caution and prudence are thus advised in use if the country wants the benefits to sustain. The PM's approach is therefore simple but strategic in this regard.

The Council for Healthcare and Pharma (CHP) is an integrated, not-for-profit, Global think tank that advocates the development of sustainable health systems around the World. It looks at engaging with Governments and other stakeholders to adopt rational approaches that capture benefits, that accrue through the optimization of the eco-system and value chain involved in treating diseases and keeping people healthy. CHP includes domestic and global Pharmaceutical companies, Providers of Diagnostics, Medical device Manufacturers, Hospitals and adjunct services.

Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the Council focuses on Africa, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, UK, and the USA. Its important areas of work are in ease-of-doing-business; increasing competitiveness; broadening access to safe, efficacious and affordable healthcare services and medicines. CHP is guided in its work by expert advisory committees in Intellectual Property; Market Access; Regulatory Policy; Key Therapeutics - Women's Health, Oncology & Tropical Diseases; Research & Development (R&D) and Artificial Intelligence (ai); Environment; Healthcare start-up's.

As a significant and credible stakeholder in alleviating the burden of disease, the CHP will bring to bear the collective wisdom of industry and policymakers on health issues that stand to make a positive contribution to society in bringing about Universal healthcare.


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