What are the issues related to Primary Health Care in India? Enumerate the ways to solve the issues related to PHC?
The state of Primary Health Care in India is apparent from the deaths of 154 children in Bihar due to an outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. The falling capacity of state machinery to handle any sudden outbreak. AES has been largely linked with litchi consumption by children who were starving during a prolonged heatwave.
AES is preventable if treated just before or after the onset of the disease. If the symptoms are treated between 2-4 hours of the appearance of symptoms, the treatment of the disease is highly possible. First signs of an outbreak should be met with strong measures of prevention. Latter typically involves improving the primary health centres (PHCs) and ensuring availability of the necessary supplies, deployment of peripheral health workers and other kinds of ambulance services. The vacancies for doctors should be filled on an urgent basis.
Also, there should be proper scaling of the Poshan Abhiyan and other supplementary nutrition programmes. It has been seen that even in PHCs which have proper supplies, they remain underutilized. The real solution lies in the opening of more number of PHCs and other sub-health centres, increasing cadres of more ASHA workers, stringent looking at the nutrition programmes. The faulty distribution of doctors and other medical staff has to be addressed. Even the primary healthcare system has to be made more responsive to all kinds of future outbreaks. Even the technical capacity of the hospitals has to be upgraded to be able to meet any health emergencies. There is a growing need to develop confidence in community-based healthcare.