Alarming Dearth

Alarming Dearth
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As the population and demographic profile of Kashmir undergoes a radical transformation, it is accompanied by a dearth of complementary facilities and infrastructure, especially in the domain of public health and medicine. There is a clear and present mismatch in supply and demand of these facilities here. Two reasons account for this, in the main: one is the demographic bulge that has grown in the region , by leaps and bounds; the other, is the inability of supply to cope up with the increasing demands on the extant health and medical infrastructure. The nagging issue is that there will neither be a limit nor an end to population growth and attendant demographic pressures in Kashmir. Both are bound to grow. And, if the supply health and medical infrastructure fails to cope up with the demand, then this condition can only be alarming redounding negatively to society and its constituents, especially the poor and vulnerable segment of society. Can, the question is, this bleak and dismal condition be remedied? Yes is the answer. The health and medical sector needs a total and comprehensive overhaul and revamp, both from top down and bottoms up. This means and entails what, in and by a certain school of economics, is called “creative destruction”. (Tinkering on the margins will not help). A wholesale reorganization of the health sector is then called for. Public health being a public good and a claim on it might even constitute a right or , in the least, an entitlement. But, alas, on account of various pulls and pressures, this entitlement is not available to many people. In lieu of this, perhaps, as a time bound substitute to wholesale reorganization of the sector, it might be prudent to open this space for public private partnership or, even equity infusions by institutional and individual investors. These measures would , besides obviating the scarcity of funding issues, would also bring more transparency and accountability into the sector. In the final analysis, the issue of public health and medicine is an extremely important one which cannot and must not be ignored or neglected. People do and are suffering , on account of poor medical and health services. This must stop and the issue attended to with due care and vigor. The first step would be to stock take the nature of the problem and then take immediate remedial action followed by structural transformation.