Role of the Government in Health
Health is an individual’s ability to remain free from illness and injuries, to be active and in good spirits and free from mental stress. According to WHO, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
Education, income and lifestyle and family size are the factors affecting health of people. Good healthcare services are essential for any nation. Components of health facilities include health centres and hospitals, nurses, qualified doctors, health professionals, medicines and equipment, laboratories for testing, ambulance services and blood banks.
There are many facilities for healthcare in India. India has one of the largest numbers of doctors, clinics and hospitals. But India’s healthcare system has not kept pace with economic growth. Despite so many facilities, India is not able to provide proper healthcare facilities to all the people. Healthcare in India is classified as public health services and private health facilities. Public health services including government run hospitals and health centres. In villages government sets up Primary Health Centres (PHC). District Hospitals are set up at the district level. Registered Medical Practitioners work in District Hospitals. In the urban areas, there are many government run hospitals as well as private health facilities. A large number of doctors also run their private clinics. The private hospitals are expensive and access to them is limited by affordability.
Like in many areas, there are inequalities in healthcare. These are due to poor physical infrastructure, poverty and gender bias. In India, women’s health is considered to be of less importance than of male members in a family, especially in rural areas. Commercialization of healthcare has made cost of health facilities and medicines very high. Right to Health has been included in the Right to Life of Article 21of the Constitution.