< Back to Signals

How to deal with increasing public health concerns in India

India is struggling to keep up with public health needs in the face of increased urbanization and global climate change issues. "The spread of disease and infection during the monsoon [season] is not new. But, medical workers in Indian cities are becoming increasingly wary of it as cities grow and flooding due to inadequate drainage systems increases the frequency of stagnant water. Density of urban areas, combined with poor infrastructure management and poor hygiene, create nests of infection, which could lead, in time, to a public health disaster.

"Why? India's urban public hospitals are proving that they are ill-equipped to handle the sheer number of patients in need during seasonal duress or outbreaks of infection. As it stands, there are now lines outside many of Mumbai's hospitals this monsoon [season] because of the surge in patients--or patients who believe their symptoms are worthy of a doctor's attention. Even worse, Mumbai is starting to see more cases of drug-resistant malaria. Could we see other infections start to hit the same walls?"

Implications:

Despite increased global attention on public health issues in the global south, we seem to be unable to keep up with growing needs. Drug resistant strains of malaria--and in other places TB--are very worrying trends with respect to the future of diseases.

Some public health communities feel that the current global focus on AIDS is too narrow and has taken away funding from other needs. A holistic view of public health issues needs to be incorporated into any public health organization, be it NGO, governmental, for profit, or not for profit.

Speaking to specific steps India can take to better meet the needs of their citizens, Intellecap writes, "on a macro scale, cities must plan better, think longer term, and be more pragmatic about infrastructure development. Citizens can educate themselves and their neighbors about how to handle potential danger zones. Importantly, hospitals should better prepare for each monsoon season's influx of patients, by improving their process efficiency and data collection in order to get patients in and out with proper treatment in a timely manner."

3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
 

Sources:

Searchlight South Asia by Intellecap, pg. 4 - 5:
http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/Intellecap_Aug2010.pdf#page=4