A welfare state aims to provide for the health, education, and general welfare of its citizens. Healthcare, particularly primary healthcare, is a fundamental right, integral to the realization of the right to life, and a key obligation of any welfare state.
Primary healthcare encompasses a wide range of basic health services, including preventive, promotive, curative, and rehabilitative services.
Primary healthcare is the first point of contact for individuals within a health system and brings healthcare as close as possible to where people live and work.
Primary healthcare- Pre-condition for Sustainable Development:
1. Economic Sustainability: A healthy population is a productive one. Preventive and primary healthcare reduces the burden of disease, leading to higher productivity, economic growth, and reduced healthcare costs in the long term.
2. Social Sustainability: Primary healthcare promotes equity and social justice. By focusing on preventive and primary care, healthcare services are made more accessible and affordable to all sections of society, reducing health inequalities.
3. Environmental Sustainability: Many aspects of primary healthcare, such as sanitation, clean water, and control of communicable diseases, directly relate to environmental health. Ensuring these aspects can contribute to environmental sustainability.
Primary Healthcare programs contributing to Sustainable Development
1. National Health Mission (NHM): Since its inception in 2005, NRHM has improved the availability of and access to quality healthcare, particularly for people residing in rural areas, the poor, women, and children.
2. Ayushman Bharat Program: The Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs) component seeks to establish 1.5 lakh HWCs by December 2022 to provide comprehensive primary healthcare. As of June 2021, over 76,000 HWCs are operational, providing services to more than 25 crore people.
|Case Study – Kerala’s Primary Healthcare Model: The state has one of the best health indicators in India, comparable to many developed nations, despite spending only 1.2% of its GSDP on health. Its network of primary health centers and community health centers, along with an emphasis on public health and preventive care, has been credited for this success. For instance, during the Nipah virus outbreak in 2018, the quick response and robust primary healthcare system played a key role in containing the disease.