27th Jun 2020 10:06:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

Despite the deluge of miseries Covid-19 is showering upon the millions in the country, there should not be any ambiguity over the fact that it has, however, done a very useful job. Over the last four months or so, day in, day out, it has exposed the frailty of the country’s public healthcare system which is inarguably an overlooked matter under normal circumstances. As daily Covid health bulletins continue to give more ‘fatty’ figures, there is an increasing dismay that even after more than 70 years of independence, so many vital necessities in the public healthcare apparatus are still to be attended. Anyhow, it’s a matter of comfort to find that Arunachal has realised its healthcare deficiencies and has announced the intention to make amends. This is going to be a very important task as it’s not just the case of fighting Covid only, since, providing meaningfully efficient medical care to the citizens is a recurring duty. A state can never be ‘healthy’ if its hospitals and health centres are so few or are not well-maintained.   
Improper maintenance of government-run healthcare facilities in the country have always been the core topic of any health-related discussion and invariably, the main cause cited is the meagre spending for the health sector in terms of GDP. As per latest World Bank data, India’s current health expenditure is 3.63 % of its GDP which is far below the world average of almost 10% and behind many developing countries also. Although there may be an argument that there is improvement since per capita government spending on healthcare has nearly doubled from Rs 1,008 per person in 2015 to Rs 1,944 currently, it’s still far from meaningfully adequate, if viewed in the light of the ever-increasing population. Also, it’s a fact that despite an increase of total public expenditure on health, actual spending on building of tangible infrastructure has not been proportional to the on-ground needs. Among many shortcomings which the pandemic has compelled all to draw attention is the sheer inadequacy of beds, doctors and nursing personnel. As per WHO data, the number of hospital beds per 10,000 is 6.6 in India which is highly disproportionate and even below that of Sri Lanka which is over 35. Doctors per 10000 is 8.6, which in developed countries is between 26 to 42 and in terms of nurses it’s just 17 for10000, when desirably, it should be much more. And after Covid, these ‘lacunae’ will be hard to bury under the carpet. 
Inarguably, the above picture will be more or less the same in Arunachal. It’s only by creating tangible and well-oiled health infra and an efficient manpower base the state can dream of becoming self-reliant in health.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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