Demand of the question:
It expects students to highlight the need and advantages of cities with self-sufficient and sustainable healthcare infrastructure and services.
Prime Minister of India said that the biggest lesson from the coronavirus pandemic was that it has taught people to become self-reliant. Cities which are on the front lines of COVID-19 need a self-sufficient and sustainable healthcare infrastructure and services
Need for cities self-sufficient and sustainable healthcare infrastructure and services:
- Fear of more people falling into poverty due to job loss and out of pocket healthcare expenditure.
- As per National Health Profile–2019, there are only 0.55 beds per 1000 population.
- Residents of urban slums and informal settlements (17% of total urban population) are particularly at greater risk due to lack of infrastructure and basic services, including water, sanitation, waste collection and access to basic health care. E.g.: Dharavi corona outbreak.
- Both national and local governments are confronted with severely strained financial resources. Central government allocates only around 1.5% of GDP to healthcare.
- India not producing even 10% of the medical equipment and devices it needed at any point in time.
- Abrupt establishment of makeshift facilities like hostels, hotels, schools, stadiums, lodges etc. caused confusion and delayed mitigation efforts.
- Lack of testing kit, PPE kit, ventilator, masks manufacturing pre-outbreak of pandemic caused rush for expensive, low quality imports.
- Inadequate, corrupt and leakage prone food distribution system has caused rise in hunger and malnutrition.
- Difficulty in taking ambulance to skewed places has caused delays.
Advantages of self-sufficient and sustainable cities in terms of healthcare infrastructure and services:
- Help in sustaining ease of living by causing poverty alleviation and increase in expenditure on other essential needs like education, skills, etc.
- Curb dependency on costly imports – save revenue which can be used to encourage indigenous industries.
- Self-sufficient approach can provide quick and efficient response to pandemic situations.
- Adequate beds, personnel, equipment can motivate health workers and citizens.
- Assist cities more vulnerable, thus ushering cooperative spirit in healthcare sector.
- Inability to stop fake news, rumours causing fear and misinformation, shows lack of effective communication between people and healthcare system.
- Correct verified information will enable harmony in society, prevent conflicts and further increase coverage of healthcare measures.
Following steps need to be taken for making cities with self-sufficient and sustainable healthcare infrastructure and services:
- Allocating more revenue generation powers and autonomy to cities, more grants from Centre and states.
- Like shelter homes for natural disasters, we need to develop medically equipped shelter homes for pandemic situations and need to create awareness through mock drills for better coordination during the real crisis.
- Need to ensure Regulatory Sync-up and Synergy.
- Need to leverage technology to let users experience the best facilities in hassle free manner.
- Becoming more and more self-reliant in the area of medical devices, medical equipment and other kinds of requirements that are applicable for health care-related issues.
- Use of helicopter to rescue/evacuate serious patients for crowded urban settlements.
- Effective communication via advisories, media, social media, etc. to curb fakes news, rumours. E.g.: use of PIB for fact verification of viral videos and social media posts
Thus, making cities self-sufficient and sustainable in terms of healthcare infrastructure and services will lay foundation for ‘Atma Nirbhar’ and healthy India which is ready to prevent and tackle future challenges especially pandemic situations like corona.