[Answered] India face shortage of doctors especially in rural areas. In this context self care can be a solution. What is self care? Discuss self care in context of Indian population and healthcare issues.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Write about health care and define it.
Body. Enlist benefits of self care especially in Indian context.
Conclusion. Way forward.

India has only 10 lakh registered doctors to cater to 1.3 billion citizens. While urban areas have 58% qualified doctors, in rural areas the number is as low as 18.8%. In this context self care can be a solution.

World Health Organization has recently issued the guidelines for self care. Providing self-care to vulnerable populations implies a safe and supportive enabling environment and ensuring quality products and interventions are available outside of formal health systems.

Self care according to World Health Organization is the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote, maintain health, prevent disease and to cope with illness with or without the support of a health care provider. It encompasses several issues including hygiene, nutrition, lifestyle, environmental and socio-economic factors.

Benefits-

  • Prevention is better than cure- India is a tropical country, burden of communicable diseases are more. Self care promote hygiene, better diet and prevention of diseases. Self care not only prevent diseases to occur but also lead to better management of any disease and reduce chances of spreading of a disease due to clean hygienic habits, through better knowledge of diseases, symptoms and ways to control it. E.g. dengue, malaria can be controlled if people and community focus on keeping environment and surroundings clean and hygienic.
  • Infrastructure and Human Resources- The availability of public health care services is abysmal. They lack good infrastructure, proper management, dedicated staff and many other things which are required to provide reasonable and appropriate healthcare. There is only one government allopathic doctor per 10,189. Out of 1 million doctors in the country, only 10% of them work in the public health sector (according to National Health Profile). Self care would enable less diseases and taking care of illness either with or without help of professionals.
  • Affordability- 38.2% of India’s population is below the poverty. Our private healthcare services are expensive for them. Self care would not only enable prevention but also less expenditure on medicines by strengthening traditional methods of care. Also it will increase savings that were being spent on treatment.
  • Better health decision making- Users will have information, autonomy and the agency to make decisions about their own lives and health. Self care empower individuals, families and communities for informed health decision-making and make use of available health resources and successful management of a health condition.
  • Health equity– Serious health and human rights consequences arise where people are unable to access the proper health facilities. To ensure that human rights are promoted and protected self-care must be promoted. It is particularly relevant for vulnerable groups who may face discrimination and violence in their efforts to secure access to care and exercise their rights to health.

A just system of public health is must to reduce and ultimately eliminate inequalities in the social basis of well-being, which is defined by sufficiency in six dimensions. The six dimensions of well-being are: health, personal security, reasoning, respect, attachment, and self-determination. These dimensions are all relevant to user autonomy wrt decisions in healthcare. Self care strengthen all these.

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