Meeting medicare gap

The set of initials of names for different indigenous systems of medicare as well as healthcare being practised virtually in all regions of the country is becoming familiar to the literati as the acronym AYUSH. For starters, Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy have been chosen by the authorities in the Union Government for zeroing in on the attractive unified name for all systems. While allopathy, the dominating western system of medicine, has been kept aloof from the AYUSH set, tribal practices of healthcare has just started getting attention in Karnataka. Even as strong western lobbying to promote allopathy is being reported in the media, Ayurveda system being criticised for not sustaining the claims to efficacy of the numerous preparations, Yoga has literally swept populations in many countries off their feet. The other three systems have their limited patrons to different extents in various countries. The cost of medicare is undoubtedly the deciding factor in choosing one system or the other.

The urban-rural divide in the country is most yawning when it comes to accessing medicare for reasons not far to seek. Even the doctor fraternity of Karnataka, barring exceptions, have not taken kindly to the stiff order of the government making rural service mandatory. They have rightly raised the issues of infrastructure critical to medical practice. The matter has been allowed to continue in a fluid state for now.

World Health Organisation (WHO) sources have been publishing reports periodically based on many parameters such as the ratio of doctors to headcount of the country’s population in relation to the high ratio in most of the western countries. If the actual disease burden on the country’s diaspora is taken into reckoning, the WHO portrayal of India’s medicare scenario may sound worse. If we add the other important factors such as the masses living under insanitary conditions, ignorance about the connect between quality of food consumed and health, one shudders at the thought of making even a marginal makeover in the current healthcare and medicare scenario in the country.

The disclosure by the top brass in the Karnataka government early this week to take steps on establishing medical colleges in every district across the State has to be taken with a pinch of salt. The inputs needed for raising healthcare-in-action by even a few notches are not to be equated to opening medical colleges that results in more medical graduates eyeing jobs in urban spaces. The rustics have to be bailed out by AYUSH, if at all.