22 December, 2020
8 Min Read
Health is an important topic under UPSC GS Paper II (Governance) and UPSC GS Paper III (Developmental issues) of the UPSC Mains Examination. Every year UPSC asks a minimum of 1 question both in Prelims and Mains. Its utilization is also in the Essay for UPSC Mains Examination.
What is Health?
According to WHO, Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
According to Adam Smith, Health is a Public Good. Health is a State subject. Article 21 and 47 of the Constitution deals with Health.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health stated that there should be a comprehensive Public Health Act with suitable legal provisions to keep checks and controls over private hospitals in times of a pandemic and to curb the black marketing of medicines.
This is in line with the Cuban Model of Healthcare system.
What is Cuba’s Healthcare system?
The Cuban health system is recognized worldwide for its excellence and its efficiency. Cuba’s health care system is based on preventive medicine and the results achieved are outstanding. Despite extremely limited resources and the dramatic impact caused by the economic sanctions imposed by the United States for more than half a century, Cuba has managed to guarantee access to care for all segments of the population and obtain results similar to those of the most developed nations.
The Cuban healthcare system, borne out of its revolutionary socialist ideology, regards accessibility to healthcare as a fundamental right of its citizens. It focuses heavily on a preventative approach to medicine and offers the simplest check-up to the most complex surgery, free of charge. Dental care, medicines and even home visits from doctors are all covered by the system.
Cuban expertise in the field of health also benefits the people of the Third World. Indeed, since 1963, Cuba has sent doctors and other health workers throughout the Third World to treat the poor. Currently, nearly 30,000 Cuban medical staff are working in over 60 countries around the world.
The centrepiece of this system is the community-based polyclinic, each of the 498 nationwide serving a catchment area of between 30 000 and 60 000 people. The polyclinics act also as the organizational hub for 20 to 40 neighbourhood-based family doctor-and-nurse offices and as accredited research and teaching centres for medical, nursing and allied health sciences students. These are the backbone of Cuba’s health system.
Recently the Parliamentary Standing Committee suggested that there should be a comprehensive Public Health Act with suitable provisions. Other recommendations are given below.
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