Disease prevention vital for healthcare: Vastrad

Disease prevention vital for healthcare: Vastrad

Expert raises concerns over catastrophic expenditure cases

Although various efforts are taken up to tackle diseases, stress should be more on measures to prevent the same, said P S Vastrad, Commissioner, Health and Family Services, here on Wednesday.

He was speaking at a workshop on ‘Draft National Health Policy-2015, perspectives and way ahead’, held at JSS Hospital in the city.

While the Health department was equipped to treat various health ailments, it had no powers to prevent the diseases from affecting people. However, civic bodies, if they implement cleanliness measures can reduce the occurrence of vector-borne diseases, he said. Most of the health problems faced by the population will reduce if there is “good potable water, milk and oil”, he said.

Commenting on Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs), he said that the number of PHCs in the State, satisfied the Central guidelines. The guidelines, he said, stipulated that there be one PHC for 30,000 population. However, Karnataka has 2,353 PHCs in the State, which exceeds the number required to meet the requirements of the Central government.

Despite these many PHCs, there was a need to improve the quality of healthcare provided at these centers, he said. He blamed the shortage of doctors as one of the reasons for the decline in quality, as 25,000 of the 75,000 posts of doctors remained vacant in the State.

Apart from appointing doctors annually to fill the vacancies, buffer healthcare professional should also be employed, he said.

To sort out the issues related to drug supply, he said that the State has adopted a “need based” approach for distributing medicine to hospitals. “Under the approach, unnecessary hoarding of drugs is avoided. Essential drugs as recommended by the Need Assessment Committee are being  distributed. This has helped in avoiding stocking expired medicine,” he said.

Dr Kiran Hegde, Associate Professor, JSS Medical College, in his address said that though the National Rural Health Mission was an ambitious scheme, it was affected by a reduced flow of funds.

Catastrophic expenditure
He noted that cost of healthcare services was on a rise, which had resulted in an incidence of “catastrophic expenditure”. Catastrophic expenditure in terms of health was a phenomenon in which a person or family is pushed to bankruptcy due to the cost of healthcare services.

He said that instances of such cases had increased from 15 per cent in 2004-05 to 18 per cent in 2011-12. He also highlighted the various proposals made in the draft policy.

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