HEALTH AND WELLNESS
By- Veda Prasad Nayak
Goal – To Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
The Agenda of SDG-3
Good Health is essential to sustainable development and the 2030 agenda reflects the complexity and interconnectedness of the two. Universal health coverage will be integral to achieving sustainable development growth, ending poverty and reducing inequalities. Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages is important to building prosperous societies. However, despite great strides in improving people’s health and well-being in recent years, inequalities in health care access still persist. The under 5 years of age mortality rate in India is 34 out of 1000 and maternal mortality rate is 122 per 1 lakh.
Epidemics like HIV/AIDS thrive where fear and discrimination limit people’s ability to receive the services they need to live healthy and productive lives. Access to good health and well-being is a human right, and that is why the Sustainable Development Agenda offers a new chance to ensure that everyone can access the highest standards of health and health-care not just the wealthiest.
Condition of Health & wellness in India
India is the world’s third largest economy in terms of its gross national income (in PPP terms). The goal of national health policy 2015 (draft) is to attain the highest level of good health and well-being through a preventive and promotive health care orientation in all developmental policies, and universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship. India today possesses as never before, several interventions, technologies and knowledge required for providing health care. Yet, ill health, disease, premature death, and suffering remain and the gaps in health outcomes continue. Limited access to quality health care, communication, other basic facilities, in many rural, tribal and even urban settings, especially inhabited by Adivasis/ Tribal, Dalits, migrant and mobile population, who are often socio-economically disadvantaged and facing social exclusion, negatively impact on the chances of living a dignified life. Geo-environmental conditions – difficult terrain, adverse weather conditions, as well as political situation also contribute to the scenario. Women and Children, and differently abled people continue to remain more vulnerable and are worst sufferers.
Transformation of Healthcare industry
While wellness has been an integral part of Indian culture with Ayurveda practices, meditation and yoga, the changing consumer lifestyles and usage of modern technologies created a worldwide network of healthcare services and applications and outlooked the tradition. With phenomenal growth and usage of emerging technologies like IoT, AI-enabled wearables, medical devices, mobile care applications, telemedicine, etc. the healthcare industry’s ecosystem has undergone a transformation.
Indian healthcare sector is expected to reach US $372 billion by 2022, driven by rising income, better health awareness, lifestyle diseases and increasing access to insurance. The government of India aims to increase healthcare spending to three percent of the GDP by 2022. Mergers and acquisitions(M&A) deals in the healthcare sector jumped by a record 155%, 7615 crores (US$ 1.09 billion) in FY19. The number of doctors increased to 1,154,686 in 2018 from 827,006 in 2010. The World’s largest government funded healthcare scheme, Ayushman Bharat was launched September 23, 2018.
Effect of Pandemic on people’s perception of Health & well-Being
Health and wellness had already taken the centre stage. The Pandemic has increased the consciousness of personal health & well-being. There are dangerous fallouts of the disruption as well. The breakdown of overburdened health-care facilities, negative impact on the morale of health-care workers, and the collapse of private sector institutions (under financial strain) are all real. With hospital and doctors incomes falling during the pandemic, there may be a resurgence of unethical practices with a vengeance as the industry tries to make up its losses. This is already evident in the huge bills that patients with COVID-19 are being slapped with, often by creating additional billing heads. Though prices in the private sector have been capped, loopholes in the system may be found, such as profiteering on personal protective equipment. Artificial demand maybe created in an effort to increase footfall. Thus, the epidemic’s ‘positive’ impact on unnecessary practices may get washed away as ‘normalcy’ is restored.
In general, the medical fraternity in India has risen admirably to the challenge of COVID-19. The call of duty has led many to don Coronavirus warrior outfits and set aside commerce for now. It has forced them to consider alternative paradigms. Public respect for the profession has also improved. If we can seize this chance to correct undesirable practices, which have become an albatross around our neck, it may help the return of trust in the doctor-patient relationship, which was under severe threat before the pandemic. In the middle of gloom, this is a window of opportunity.
Steps taken by Healthcare and fitness firms to adapt to changing times
Indian healthcare sector has been increasingly privatized over the last few decades. Many private firms have come up with a dynamic online way of ensuring health services in this COVID situation. Some of the examples are-
Cure Fit – Adopted a digital-first strategy with digital services like teleconsultations on nutrition, therapies, personal training, medical diagnostic services, fitness & health-related e-commerce stores and DIY recorded classes.
Fitternity – Book real time health sessions with options of pay per session, membership fees.
Healthify – In-house certified nutritionists, fitness trainers and yoga coaches provide one-to-one fitness and nutrition coaching with diet plans.
FITTR – Provides live fitness sessions, Q&A with fitness experts, diet plans, and access to the fitness community to its users in the areas of nutrition, fitness and exercise. Fitness trainers, freelancers, influencers also moved online to offer fitness training sessions based on a freemium model.
What Can we do as an Individual?
With all these initiatives and practices at last the onus is on us as an individual to promote Health and well-being for a sustainable development of the nation. We can start by promoting and protecting our own health and the health of those around us, by making well-informed choices, and vaccinating our children. We can raise awareness in our community about the importance of good health, healthy lifestyles as well as people’s right to quality health care services. Take action through schools, clubs, teams and organizations to promote better health for all, especially for the most vulnerable such as women and children. We can also hold our government, local leaders and other decisionmakers accountable to their commitments to improve people’s access to health and health care.