“The human body has been designed to resist an infinite number of changes and attacks brought about by its environment. The secret of good health lies in successful adjustment to changing stresses on the body.” – Harry J. Johnson
“Health equity is defined as the absence of unfair and avoidable or remediable differences in health among population groups defined socially, economically, demographically or geographically”.1 The definition itself explains the meaning of health equity that the health of the all the people across the world is equal whether the person is poor or rich, big or small. But this is only mentioned in the definition, but it is not followed at all. Let me quote you an incident. Pervious year, at the time of pandemic, I was working with a group of students of colleges, for arrangement of oxygen cylinders, ventilators, remdesivirs, etc. So, over there we helped a lot of patients all 24/7, but one thing which I realised was that the essence of the word “HEALTH EQUITY” which was absent over there. The person who had a huge amount of money in his pocket, will be treated very easily, but what about poor ones? The hospitals were not even listening to provide even a single % discount.
KEYWORDS: ANIMAL; HUMAN; LAW; RELIGION
ABOUT THE TOPIC
“Pioneering spirit should continue, not to conquer the planet or space … but rather to improve the quality of life.”2
WHAT IS HEALTH? If we talk in a general layman language, Health is wealth for an individual. If our health is not good, we are not in a state to do anything with full efficiency. We all are aware of the deadly disease which has taken lives of nearly half of the population of the world. As per the analysis of the experts, the 3rd wave is approaching near in which the young children, below the 18 years old children will be at danger.
“Health equity is defined as the absence of unfair and avoidable or remediable differences in health among population groups defined socially, economically, demographically or geographically”.3 The definition itself explains the meaning of health equity that the health of the all the people across the world is equal whether the person is poor or rich, big or small. But this is only mentioned in the definition, but it is not followed at all. Let me quote you an incident. A few months ago, I was working with a group of students of colleges, for arrangement of oxygen cylinders, ventilators, remdesivirs, etc. So, over there we helped a lot of patients all 24/7, but one thing which I realised was that the essence of the word “HEALTH EQUITY” which was absent over there. The person who had a huge amount of money in his pocket, will be treated very easily, but what about poor ones? The hospitals were not even listening to provide even a single % discount.
At that time, there was only 1 organisation who was always on their toes to help all the people, and the name of the organization is RADHA SOAMI SATSANG BEAS centres, all over the NCT of DELHI. I personally referred 15 patients, who were financially sound people, in that centre and they thanked me a lot after getting treated from there. So, we can say that indeed Health Equality is diminishing in our country, but some of the people, organisational bodies come forward to bring the essence of Health Equity again in our Country and make our country healthy, wealthy and wise.
Now let’s discuss the difference between 2 major terms, i.e., HEALTH EQUITY & HEALTH EQUALITY:
Health Equality vs. Health Equity
Health equality means everyone has the same opportunities. Examples could include a community centre offering free or low-cost check-ups to everyone.
“Health equity means that people have opportunities based on their needs. An example could be the same health centre charging people based on their ability to pay. A person who cannot afford care may receive it for free while another person may pay for the same care”.
In short, health equality means everyone receives the same standard, while health equity means everyone receives individualized care to bring them to the same level of health.
“Health equality is not always preferable. For example, if a clinic offers free check-ups every morning, a person who must work during the morning cannot take advantage of this service. While the clinic offers Check-ups to everyone on the same terms, some people still cannot take advantage of the service”.
PROVISIONS EMBEDDED IN OUR INDIAN CONSTITUTION RELATED TO HEALTH OF THE CITIZENS OF THE NATION
As we all know that in our India, if any law is violated, we take help of “The Constitution of India, 1949”. Let us know about some of the provisions enshrines under our Constitution which aware us about the Health laws.
- Article 38 of the Indian Constitution says that it is the “duty of the state to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people”. If the state provides affordable healthcare facilities to all the people, irrespective of religion, caste, colour and gender; it will surely help in welfare of the people. If the state government appoints several health workers, doctors, and the OPD charges must be minimum, so that poor people can easily
- Nearly all the states have Civil hospitals, where emergency is always operative, and the charges are so low that a poor person can easily afford, and the check-ups are also best.
- Article 39 (e) asks the states to ensure that health care facilities are to be provided to men and women There should be no discrimination in any context. Also, the tender age of children is not to be abused in any of the circumstances. This clause also tells us that any person should not be forced by their economic nature.
- Article 41 imposes duty on the “states to provide public assistance in cases unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement etc”. For this purpose, each state has its own helpline numbers for public assistance in case of health care, especially for old age citizens.
- Article 42 of the Constitution of India makes the provision of “securing just and inhumane treatment in case of maternity”. In maternity, both the mother and child must get full For this purpose, our Indian Government has some special maternity leaves for women. After all, women and children are the only future of our nation.
- Article 47 states that it is a duty of the state to improve public health by providing nutritious food to all the citizens. It also advises the state to strictly prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks which include dangerous drugs. We all are aware of the Mid-day meal scheme, which is being provided by the government schools. The food provided is of not good quality in some states. So, as per this article, the state has to ensure the nutrition in all government schools. In case, any issue occurs, the state must ask the centre to solve their
- Apart from the articles, 11th and 12th schedules of the Indian Constitution, tells us about the powers of the panchayats and municipalities respectively, in the subject of health, sanitation, and water
“They are non-justifiable and no person can claim for non-fulfilling of these directives. However, Judiciary has widely interpreted the scope of Right to Health under Article 21 (right to life) and has thus established right to health as an implied fundamental right. Not only article 21 but also other articles under Part-III have been linked to Right to Health”. Article 23(1) prohibits traffic in human beings. Since trafficking of women leads to prostitution, which in turn is to major factor in spread of AIDS, this article has been linked to Right to Health. “Similarly, Article 24 says that No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment. It is directly related to Child health”.
Further, in relation to the serious medical cases, the supreme court has provided certain directions such as:
- “Provision of adequate health facilities at public health
- Upgradation of sub-divisional level hospitals to make them capable of treating serious
- To ensure availability of bed in any emergency at State level hospitals, there should be a centralized communication system so that the patient can be sent immediately to the hospital where bed is available in respect of the treatment, which is required”.
- Proper arrangement of ambulances adequately provided with necessary equipments and
Further, the Supreme Court in “Paramanand Katara v Union of India” case gave a landmark judgement that a every doctor at government hospital or otherwise has the professional obligation to extend his services with due expertise for protecting life of a patient.
HEALTH CARE OF ANIMALS IN INDIAN CONTEXT
“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”4
We all think of ourselves very easily, but what do think of these speechless creatures? Only very few of us take care of animals and birds. Let me quote you an incident. When, I was preparing for my Law entrance exams, the teacher who was teaching us, asked me in general, that what is your aim in life apart from law?
I answered sir, I want to open an animals’ hospital in each and every district, so that our critters can easily be treated. But, do you know, what did he say? He said dear stop thinking of animals, think of humans. I often wonder that what happened to our Indians. We must think of these speechless creatures, because they are also a part of our society. One of the renowned spiritual leaders, H.H. SRILA PRABHUPADA JI (founder of ISKCON), stated in one of his books “THE SECOND CHANCE”, “if one has killed an animal, one must be killed by that same animal in other birth. This is called ‘mamsa’. Mam means ‘me’ and sa means ‘he’. As I am eating an animal, that animal will have opportunity to eat me”5.
Our Indian law system has various laws related to animal rights, their health, legal rights, violence done against them by cruel people. Unfortunately, we are not aware of these rights. We must know some of the animal laws, such as WILDLIFE PROTECTION ACT, CATTLE TRESPASS ACT, HARYANA GAU SAMVARDHAN ACT etc. if the youth of our India is aware of these basic rights, no one can even think of doing any heinous crime to animals and humans.
HEALTH OF PEOPLE IN COVID-19
Covid-19, as we all know, is affecting a very huge number of Population of the whole world. As per the experts, the 3rd wave of Covid-19 is approaching fast. In that case, we all must come forward to fight against this deadly disease. For this, our central government must, ensure minimum costs of medicines for all the people, whether poor or rich. Also, the NGOs, the Charitable Trusts, can arrange medical beds with oxygen cylinders, so that all the patients may be easily accommodated. If we all come together, no demon can ever hurt us. We all must ensure safety precautions within our surroundings, wear masks, sanitize everything, social distancing.
At the end, I would like to end up by saying that if we all want to rename India as the GOLDEN BIRD, we all must ensure proper safety, health and nutrition to all the citizens of our nation. If our health is fit, we can do everything with full energy.