Health care is a very complex one. Health Care works based on our understanding on the following:
- First understand what is Health & Disease
- Prevent what is Preventable
- Discover, Develop and Deliver Drugs (4D) to the Needy
The first one will provide us a broader understanding on Who we are? Why we are here? What is the purpose? How to get there? If we know the answers to these we are very lucky and also very unlikely to fall sick, especially with the chronic diseases. Since it is impossible to know and understand the above, most of us are very likely to face health complications at some point in life or throughout life. Now based on our understanding of Health and Disease, we are left with the above two remaining options:
- Prevent what is preventable (Preventive action)
- 4D to the needy – this is pretty much like a corrective action.
Though it looks very simple and easy, it is in fact extremely difficult to work on both preventive and corrective measures simultaneously. But unless considerable attention is paid on both fronts simultaneously it appears highly impossible to address the health and care issues in this country where there is an increasing trend in number of non-communicable diseases while communicable diseases are still prevailing in India. Therefore, scientists, policy makers, politicians and individuals at the community level have to focus equally on how to address the situation and control and contain. Here are a few possible ways of addressing the same that I am already making an effort in:
- Focus on local governance and development – emphasis should be on public health, hygiene, and the role of municipalities/panchayats/local communities to keep the areas clean and green, and be proud to take the responsibility and work at heart to show truly Swatchh Bharat – this is very effective preventive action.
- Availability of quality drugs/medicines and Affordability of quality drugs/medicines – this is very much of a corrective action
Two wonderful conferences that I attended recently, one in Chandigarh and the other one in Mumbai, on chemistry, pharmaceutical industry and Quality by Design Concepts, clearly confirmed what I have anticipated in the past decade. And the conferences like the ones mentioned are playing a very good role in bringing experts both from academia and industry to discuss developments in the field.
As far my understanding goes, in addition to the gaps in local governance and development, there is a huge lacuna between the ‘academia and industry’, and ‘cross-functional understanding and cooperation’, and ‘industry and regulatory’ compliance. There is an urgent need to adopt a thought process thru a system that can play a role to establishing strategies, systems and synergies in order to address the same.
I am indeed very glad to note that Indian government, despite the above shortcomings, has already taken a step in right direction way back in 2007 to supply drugs almost in every therapeutic area at affordable price. Jan Aushadhi campaign was launched in November 2008, with the laudable objective of making quality drugs available at affordable prices through special outlets, i.e., Jan Aushadhi Stores, Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI), registered as an independent society in April, 2010, was entrusted the responsibility of implementing the Campaign. Through this campaign they are supplying about 361 drugs covering all therapeutic categories. Government doctors are persuaded vigorously to prescribe generic drugs and make this program truly successful.