Present situation about various communicable diseases
India needs to work a lot on its health sector. For example in case of HIV/ AIDS, as per HIV estimates 2008-09, there are an estimated 23.9 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS in India with an adult prevalence of 0.31 percent in 2009.
Acc to International Health Regulation, the past few decades have seen the re-emergence of cholera and plague in India.
In 2009 there were reported 0.10 malaria deaths, per 1, 00,000 populations.
This shows the condition of health of Indian people. There are other diseases also which are to be dealt with also. India is going through a period of transition, both epidemiological and demographic transition. Infectious diseases are still persisting as major health problems in spite of having national programmes for the control of most of these diseases for almost half a century now. There are re-emerging infectious diseases which are adding to the burden of diseases. In addition, there is an increasing prevalence of non- communicable diseases as a result of lifestyle changes and urbanization.
Sir Douglas Black said, “Main determinants of health and disease lie outside the realm of direct medical competency”.
Scenario at the time of independence
Before independence, medical and health services in the country were basically managed by the British officers. After independence, in 1947, the entire responsibility fell on the shoulder of Indian medical and health personnel. During British rule, curative and preventive services ran separately. Due to resource and personnel constraints, preventive services were at disadvantage. With the growing influence of specializations in clinical subjects, manpower development for preventive medicine was hampered.
Communication policies in 21st century
Even after 65 years of independence and various acts, laws, policies and regulations, other country still faces the problem of improper health care facilities. Though considerable achievements have been made, the goal of “Health for All by the Year 2000” has yet to be met even though we have crossed the year 2003. Lack of basic health services for the majority of the population, environmental degradation, a total collapse of the health care machinery during any epidemic crisis, and a population, which has already crossed the one billion mark, are all challenges the country is facing after 64 years of planned development. The last two decades have witnessed a gradual but sure decay in the health services of the country. Diseases claimed to be under control like malaria, poliomyelitis, dengue fever and kala azar are resurfacing with renewed vengeance. Gross disparity in health status and availability of health care services exist all over the country.
An acceptable level of health for all people of the world by the year 2000 can be attained through a fuller and better use of the world’s resources, a considerable part of which is now spent on armaments and military conflicts. A genuine policy of independence, peace, détente and disarmament could and should release additional resources that could be devoted to peaceful aims and in particular to the acceleration of social and economic development of which primary health care, as an essential part, should be allotted its proper share.
Important policy about health
The National Health Policy 2002 was formulated with the following objectives to be achieved by the year 2015:
NHP-1983, in a spirit of optimistic empathy for the health needs of the people, particularly the poor and under-privileged, had hoped to provide ‘Health for All by the year 2000 AD’, through the universal provision of comprehensive primary health care services. In retrospect, it is observed that the financial resources and public health administrative capacity which it was possible to marshal, was far short of that necessary to achieve such an ambitious and holistic goal. Against this backdrop, it is felt that it would be appropriate to pitch NHP-2002 at a level consistent with our realistic expectations about financial resources, and about the likely increase in Public Health administrative capacity. The recommendations of NHP-2002 will, therefore, attempt to maximize the broad-based availability of health services to the citizenry of the country on the basis of realistic considerations of capacity. The changed circumstances relating to the health sector of the country since 1983 have generated a situation in which it is now necessary to review the field, and to formulate a new policy framework as the National Health Policy-2002. NHP- 2002 will attempt to set out a new policy framework for the accelerated achievement of Public health goals in the socio-economic circumstances currently prevailing in the country.
It is evident that in spite of the declining mortality and changing morbidity pattern, India still has the “unfinished agenda” of combating the traditional infectious diseases that continue to contribute to a heavy disease burden and take a sizeable toll. Along with these, the country has to deal with the “emerging agenda” which includes chronic and newer diseases induced by the changing age structure, changing lifestyles and environmental pollution. We need to prepare ourselves to face the challenges of widening disparities between sections of the population in terms of access to good health.
The ironical part
The most tragic development is that, such a huge public service broadcasting infrastructure right now is almost redundant and non- functional. “The ministries of the central and state governments engaged in nation building and development tasks seem to create neither any communication apparatus within their own ministries nor do they make demands on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) for information and communication support adequate to the needs of policy formulation or implementation. The MIB is far from playing the role of a true communicating link within the government and between the government and the people in nation-building activities”.
Why should we communicate?
The oxford dictionary defines communication as, the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. Communication is a very important aspect of the human life, since it is the communication that helps human beings to connect with each other as individuals and as independent groups. Communication is the very basis, which drives the process of development in all the fields. It is owing to the process of communication that we are able to send and receive information. Various mass media are an important communication tool for information dissemination.
Effective communication is a prerequisite for implementing organizational strategies as well as for managing day to day activities through people. “Identification is one of the key ingredients of effective communication. In fact, unless your listeners can identify with what you are saying and with the way you are saying it, they are not likely to receive and understand your message.” The quote above is the underlying factor that explains the importance of communication skills.
Communication is easily overlooked, but the ability to communicate effectively is necessary to carry out the thoughts and visions of an organization to the people. The importance of speech and words whether through a paper or a voice is a communication medium to convey directions and provide synchronization. Without communication, there is no way to express thoughts, ideas and feelings.
Importance of communication
The importance of the role of communication for national development was underscored in India even prior to her independence. The Indian National Congress while formulating policies for National Development for Independent India set up a Sub-committee on Communication under the National Planning Committee to offer recommendations for development of communication for independent India. After independence of the country in 1947, the new Indian government announced a development-oriented agenda of governance dedicated to the amelioration of the economic, educational, and health conditions of the people. With the target of Development Communication, the new government adopted the recommendations of the erstwhile National Planning Committee as the mainstay of its communication policies. “The issue of using modern communication acquired high priority as a developmental resource during the Nehru era when the planners explored the prospects of using radio as a development agent, that is, for information and enlightening the people in the countryside and towns on developmental issue”
On a speech delivered on “freedom of information” on March 5, 1962 Pt J L Nehru said “The mass media which are very useful have an element of danger in them in that they may be distorted for private aim. The rich group (inside) or the rich nation (outside) can flood the country and the world through the mass media with its own view of things which may or may not be correct view.” These words had turned out to be ominously true in the present world.
What needs to be done?
The need of the hour is to provide quality health care at all levels by using methods which are feasible, affordable, acceptable and accessible to all. All national programmes need full-hearted support of the community so as to ensure sustainability and success. There is a need for qualified persons with good governing skills at every level, and all activities should be based according to the needs of the community at large.
Most the issues mentioned above can be resolved to a great extend with proper communication system by the main operating body, i.e., government. Advertisements and various other ways used by the government to improve the conditions. But it is also the case that the communication is done with proper care.
This work like other work of the government is not upto the standards where some changes can be expected. The communication done by the government is not so effective. There have been approx 580 reported cases of influenza from May 2011 to August 2011. This shows what the aim that is to be achieved is far ahead. Here arises the need of a proper communication system with the help of which the common people can be made aware of. This communication has to be such effective that it is easily understandable by all. But the reality paints the actual picture. Various practices like corruption, carelessness, red-tapeisum etc among the highest body does not lead to an effective communication practices in the country.
Government communication is nothing but waste of people’s money and mere forced communications. This research will focus on the effectiveness of the communication done by the government.