Geeta K. Avadhani, Director of the Mysore Medical College and Research Institute, on Thursday observed that equitable distribution of health services as envisaged in the National Health Policy was yet to be achieved.

Dr. Avadhani was delivering the inaugural address at the two-day national conference on ‘Multi-level interventions for healthcare: framing new inclusive policies' here. The conference has been organised by the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, University of Mysore.

The health policy was aimed at developing infrastructure and equitable distribution of health services cutting across social and geographical boundaries in the country.

Efforts must be made to attain these goals, Dr. Avadhani said.

The State spending on healthcare was meagre. There was every likelihood that the quality of healthcare would be affected due to such inadequacies, she said.

At present, the emphasis was on providing treatment for an ailment rather than preventing it.

“Poverty can cause illness and vice-versa,” she noted, adding that this trend had to be arrested. How could one expect the poor to afford quality treatment when eking out a livelihood itself had become difficult, Dr. Avadhani asked.

Government programmes

The Government had, however, come out with a slew of programmes for the poor such as the Rashtriya Bima Yojna, National Rural Health Mission, Janani Suraksha Yojana as well as measures to prevent HIV and AIDS. Incidence of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, leprosy and polio had come down thanks to the implementation of these programmes. However, majority of the people, particularly in rural areas, were not aware of these programmes and they had to be apprised of the benefits, Dr. Avadhani said.

Multi-sector involvement played a key role in providing the best results such as for family planning and health programmes in schools, Dr. Avadhani noted

Malnutrition

Chief Executive Officer of the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, H.D. Kote, M.A. Balasubramanya, who delivered the keynote address, expressed concern at the prevalence of malnutrition and stated that Adivasis living in H.D. Kote in Mysore district were malnourished due to non-availability of nutritious food.

They needed to be provided with quality food supply to reverse this trend.

Papers

Representatives from various health sectors as well as students are attending the conference. Several papers on health and related aspects such as ‘Right to health and healthcare', ‘Need for inclusive gender policy', ‘Maternal and child healthcare services in India', ‘ Role of the State in the implementation of health policies and laws' will be presented at the conference.

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