#HealthyMaharashtra: ‘Our aim should be to serve the poor’

Diverse, vigorous and vibrant states contribute towards building the nation. India will become even more dynamic and economically strong, provided we have well-rounded health infrastructure available for our citizens

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It should be advanced, state-of-the-art and affordable for all. Healthy states help develop a Healthy Nation. A nation’s health banks upon two major factors – a well-educated society and well-aware and informed citizens.

Maharashtra is a progressive state and has achieved a good health index due to its positive outlook. But, to build a state healthy, the most important thing that we need to do is to make people aware about how the human body works. We need to inform them the basic – why do we fall ill?

The most important point is we know the reasons, but never pay attention till the situation goes out of our hands. Improper eating patterns, consuming unhealthy and unhygienic food and water are the major contributors. We need to educate people how to choose their food, how to drink water and what needs to be done to avoid the unnecessary infections.

Affordability and accessibility of healthcare services is something that the state must look into on war footing. If we want to build a Healthy Maharashtra, advanced services should reach the remotest corners of our state.

Once bacteria enter into the digestive system, it effects our digestion causing a plethora of diseases. The commonest issue in urban as well as rural areas is impure food and water consumption, which causes intestine infections. In Maharashtra “H.Pylori” is so rampant that over 80% of the population suffers from it. Maharashtra has been witnessing a steep rise in cases related to the digestive tract, and digestive system over the last few decades.

The most important issue I want to highlight here is, once infection sets in, which has been overlooked or neglected over the years, it can lead to the cancer of food pipe, stomach, colon (large intestine) and also affects the liver and pancreas. Here, I would like to emphasise the importance of early diagnosis and timely treatment. We need to spread awareness about the symptoms. People should be educated about spotting undue changes in their bodies and immediately rush to the doctor. This is most necessary to build the overall health of a state as far as the digestive tract is concerned.

For this, we as a state need to validate that healthcare has to reach the grassroots level. Even in the villages and smaller towns and cities, awareness programmes should be conducted so that people can be well informed about how to take care of the basics such as their digestive tract.

Today, with technological advancement, we have endoscopes to detect and treat abnormalities. Also, with simple tests such as sonography and stool test, we can diagnose digestive system issues early and treat them well in time.

Affordability and accessibility of healthcare services is something that the state must look into on a war footing. If we want to build a Healthy Maharashtra, advanced services should reach the remotest corners of our state. And with increase in awareness and a well-coordinated state-of-the-art infrastructure, the heath of Maharashtra will surely improve.

Awareness and health education are important tools to reduce disease burden. Following a healthy lifestyle, maintaining proper eating habits and consuming properly cooked and clean food are a few simple precautions by which one can lead a healthy life.

Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are like blood vessels in the human body. They connect the remotest village to the healthcare infrastructure of the state. We need to strengthen them so that the health of the poor and needy can be addressed too. A properly -equipped PHC, with qualified doctors will elevate the standard of living of the rural poor. Providing healthcare services close to a village will change the healthcare scenario of the entire state.

The government of Maharashtra has introduced initiatives to improve and enhance healthcare services. The Maharashtra University of Health Sciences has gone beyond the horizon of normal courses to introduce new academic courses for the students. This Public Private Partnership (PPP) is turning to be a game-changer in medical education by opening doors for specialists in the private sector to offer their services and expertise which will benefit medical students. They have signed MOUs with leading private centres to make healthcare available to the poor and needy through subsidised and affordable services.

At our centre, in Baldota Institute of Digestive Sciences, we have implemented an age-old Indian traditional system called ‘Gurukul’, wherein we run an academic programme to train and educate young endoscopists.

Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana is an excellent scheme promoted by the government for the poor and needy people. In my opinion, the scope of the scheme should be widened so advanced techniques and procedures can be included under this scheme. Ultimately, our aim is to reach out to the poor, and serve them.

The author is the Chairman of Baldota Institute of Digestive Sciences, Global Hospital