Pandemic and Primary Health Care

The situation has become a common phenomenon in rural India. As per the Govt. of India data, it has been revealed that due to huge expense in health, approximately six crores thirty lakhs population fall under Below Poverty Level (BPL). The situation has even become worsened in the midst of lockdown. Primary Health Care Centers (PHC) supposed to be the first point of contact for Covid-19 patients. Taking experience from China and Italy, it has been suggested that of all patients with the disease, 5-10 percent of them become severely ill and need admission to a health facility. About 70 percent of these patients can be managed with supportive care and oxygen, which can be provide through PHCs. PHCs are the frontline health providers and also awareness campaigns could be deliver by the Primary Health Care Centers. But the real situation is truly bitter. ‘Good Doctors’ are not available in maximum number of PHCs. People have to travel so long to avail the health care delivery system. The coronavirus diseases (Covid-19) has created a huge pressure on the healthcare system in our nation. As per the orders of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it has been revealed that the parental and vaccination of pregnant women supposed to take place at Primary and Community Health Centers. However, it was observed that these services were largely ignored during the lockdown. According to the Pradhan Mantri Safal Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA), around 44,000 women die every year due to pregnancy-related complications whereas 6.6 lakhs children die within 28 days of birth. As per Gaon Connection survey, it has been found that only 29 per cent pregnant women confirmed check-ups and vaccination in West Bengal. While the condition of PHCs are down, even the situation of Govt. hospitals are also horrible. As per the recent data from World Bank, it has been estimated that only 0.7 beds are available for 1000 population and numbers vary in different states. For instance, 1.05 beds are available in Kerala followed by 1.1 in Tamilnadu, whereas 1.05 beds in Delhi and 2.25 beds are available in West-Bengal for 1000 patients. The ratio between doctors and patients is so alarming. Less than 1 doctor (0.857) is only available per 100 patients. The 21st century is witnessing the changes in travel and trade, urbanization, environmental degradation and other trends that increase the risk of disease outbreaks, their spread and amplification into epidemics and pandemics. At the same time, the science and knowledge around infectious hazards are constantly evolving. Now, India is about to reach fifty lakhs mark for Covid-19 situation. As per the data, India is the second worst hit country in the world. Renowned scientists and notable doctors are commenting that if we consider our population is 140 crores out of which, 60%-70% (approximately 60 crores to 70 crores) must be infected with Covid-19, so that herd-immunity would be creating among rest of the population before discovering and producing an effective vaccine to eradicate Covid-19.