5 November 2008 admin 0Comment

Source ::: The Peninsula

DOHA • Primary health care is the need of the day and it should ensure equality among all, according to Dr Hussein Al Gezairy (pictured), Regional Director, World Health Organization for the Mediterranean Region. The Qatar Primary Health Care 2008 is set to bring about innovative changes in primary health care sector around the world.

“Primary healthcare is a way or methodology to have equity in health,” said Dr Al Gezairy. “Health care should reach all. Today, for people health care is merely a doctor, medicine and hospital, which are only needed to cure one who is sick. Health care is bigger than that; it is to ensure that those who are healthy can maintain their wellbeing,” he told The Peninsula.

Primary health care is an oft neglected sector in the medical field. Stress and researches in the medical field is mainly given to higher health systems. But only a small percentage of the people are benefited from this. “Only a very less percent of the budget is spend on primary health care. Secondary and tertiary health care sectors which cater a very less percent of people are getting most benefits from the health budget of the nations. The primary health care sector is the least benefited from the health budget in most of the countries. So we are trying to emphasis here is that we need to have a health system that spends at least 50 percent of the budget on primary health care.”

In 1980s, many governments cut their budget allotments in health care and education. This might have helped in the financial and economic growth of nations. But the health wise people started losing much. “Development does not mean financial or infrastructural gains. Many countries cut expenditure on social aspects of the budget. But there is no development without these social aspects. So we need a change in this outlook also.”

Spending in health sector doesn’t mean allotting the huge percentage of the budget to the sector. USA spends 12- 13 percent of their expenditure on health. It also offers one of the most expensive medical care. “In USA 50m people donot benefit from this health insurance. Canada spends only two by third of that the USA covers. But still all are insured. In Cuba also all are covered at a very less cost. So being expensive doesn’t mean that the system is good and includes all. If you are doing well financially, you can have the best treatment. But a vast majority is left out. So a much better system must be tailor made for each nation according to its needs.”

“Health care budget should be exactly as needed. It should not go beyond or less than the adequate need of a nation. United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) is one of the most cost effective health systems. It is having good result with what it is able to do,” he said.

Health care of a nation is not the charge of the health ministry alone. All the sectors of government have an important role in ensuring health and wellbeing. Environment, education, transport all play a vital role in health care. “We are born grow up and live in the environment. So the maintenance of the environment is a necessity. During primary school periods itself a healthy life style should be built up. Health and education are closely linked segments of a society. Education has an overall control on our life. Through out a man’s life time he is completely influenced by education system right from his birth to the days when his successors are at school. So the atmosphere at school has a huge influence on a man’s wellbeing. Children should be brought to the right lifestyle right from the beginning.

They should know the ill effects of unhealthy lifestyle, alcohol, drugs and smoking. So the health message should be impregnated in the school curriculum to have a better generation.”

Similarly, the political situations can also create problems. “Many of the countries in the region have emergency situations; they have no time left from conflict, chaos and war. Many people in the region are living as refugees under fire for the last 60 years. This worsens the well being of a society.”

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