Inadequate and Ineffective

Inadequate and Ineffective
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It goes without saying that health of the members of a given society is of paramount importance for obvious reasons. (Even members of the economics profession have recognized this as good health has implications on the productivity of a society which, modern day economics holds to be the “elixir” of economic growth). Public health also has psycho emotional and psycho social implications: good health renders people happier and this, in turn, is an enabling factor for more productive, fuller lives. Being in the nature of a public good, good health is then an imperative. But, alas, public health is somewhat neglected, in practice, in Kashmir. The reasons are not difficult to suss and tease out: over the past decades, there has been a phenomenal increase in the population growth which has put pressure on the extant public health infrastructure, which is almost bursting at the seams. It is a statement of the obvious to posit that the more pressure there is on a given system or infrastructure, the more it will not be able to cope up and respond effectively, thereby creating misery and problems among and for the people. One case in point is the Lal Ded hospital where referrals from other places put immense stress on it. This could be held to be a metaphor for the entire health care infrastructure in place across the length and breadth of Kashmir. One consequences of this has been the mushrooming of private health care facilities but besides obvious problems of ethics, delivery and care, this form of health care is beyond the reach of many, if not most people. The exigent need then is to develop and crystallize a new paradigm of health care in Kashmir which caters to the needs and issues of all population segments. This must be initiated, especially and with more alacrity in rural areas. That is, it is in these areas that the ball must be set rolling. Once and when hard infrastructure is developed, it must complemented by vibrant and effective soft infrastructure. All this must be overlaid by tight, effective and efficient administrative structures that not only deal with the issues at hand efficiently but also speak to each other, so to speak, in a way that redounds to the welfare of the masses. The list delineated here is not exhaustive but constitute useful starting points for a robust and vibrant health care system in Kashmir. Let the process begin now!