Stress on the Need for Right to Access Quality Health Care
7th April 2014 | Mumbai - On World Health Day 2014, World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling for a renewed focus on vector control and better provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
At an event in Mumbai at the Dadar Club, Consumer Online foundation along with other leading consumer organisations of India gathered to focus on the urgent need for preventing vector-borne diseases in India and the need for improving access to quality healthcare, which is a constitutional right of every Indian Citizen. Another important topic of discussion was on Doctor’s obligation in prescribing the cheaper generic medicines as per Maharashtra Model Prescription Format being contemplated by Commissioner FDA Maharashtra and Creating General Awareness about availability of cheaper generic medicines as per the choice of patient by the Government and other healthcare providers in Maharashtra.
“Legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra died of dengue last year and none within the Government machinery was not made accountable for the death nor the family members of Mr. Yash Chopra were compensated for such deliberate act of negligence” said Mr. Bejon Misra, founder Partnership for Safe Medicines India initiative & Consumer Online Foundation. Mr.Misra, a leading International Consumer Expert who has been a consumer activist for more than 30 years, while addressing the event in Mumbai said, “It was reported that actor Ranveer Singh too suffered a dengue infection bringing a sharp focus on the disease in Mumbai but we do not have any realistic data indicating the death caused in India due to vector-borne diseases. The city of Mumbai officially reported more than 500 cases and more than 70,000 cases of dengue were reported across India last year; the disease is now endemic in the country. Over 2.5 billion people, nearly 40 per cent of world population, are now at risk from dengue, transmitted by bites from female Aedes mosquito. WHO estimates say there could be 100 million dengue cases in the world every year.”.
Mr.Misra futher added , “The use of generic drugs will considerably reduce helath expenses. It must be promoted and made safe to use by patients .”
In the inaugural address, the Chief Guest for the occasion,Dr.V.L.Gokak, Sr.Regional Director, National Vector Borne disease Control program (NVBDCP),Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, graced the occasion and enlightened all with the government initiative of the vector borne disease control program .Shri. Gokak said, “The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) is the programme for prevention & control of these vector borne diseases as an integral part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) of India. The NVBDCP envisages a self-sustained and well informed, healthy India free from vector borne diseases with equitable access to quality health care services nearest to their residences. The Programme activities are directed in a way to meet with the Millennium Development Goal of halting and reversing the incidence of malaria and other vector borne diseases by the year 2015 towards reduction of poverty.”
Also addressing the gathering was a very active and aware Pharmacist of Shreeji Medical and General stores, Dombivili, Mr. Deepak Pranjivan Barai. Mr. Barai said, “Generic medicines should be made available at pharmacies so that the consumers can benefit from it. We rarely see doctors prescribing generic version. In such a scenario , if the doctor hasn’t prescribed a genric name , we as pharmacists cant sell it even if the patient demands it.” Talking on Vector borne diseases Mr.Barai said, “ WHO has roped in partners like the Mumbai dabbawalas to fight vector borne diseases that claimed 167 lives in 2013. On World Health Day (April 7), the dabbawalas will deliver a specially created tag with key messages to fight vector borne diseases along with the lunch boxes. Along with the dabbawalas, the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will play an important role in the campaign.”
Focussing on doctor’s obligation in prescribing generic medicines, noted Consumer activist Mr.Jehangir Gai said that the Maharashtra Model prescription format would make it obligatory for medical practitioners to recommend cheaper generic medicines to patients. This will help the patient to not ignore the treatment due to costly medicines and will also help consumers in saving substantial amount on their Medicinal requirement and help them in taking timely appropriate medicines and enjoy a healthy life.
Mr.Walter Vieira, President, Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), added that this Prescription Model would curtail unhealthy nexus between Medical practitioners and pharmaceutial companies and will help the Government in pushing its public health policies . He also said,” We are not sure even if the doctors actually remember the generic names .”
Present at the event, our key speaker, consultant orthopedic surgeon at Breach Candy hospital, Dr. Harish Bhende expressed his views saying, “There are hundreds of generic forms of one drug. How can one be sure about the efficacy and quality.” He also threw light on vector borne diseases saying, “These vector borne disesases pose a threat to more than half of the world’s population. Few examples of vector borne diseases as malaria, dengue, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, schistosomiasis, and yellow fever. These are carried by mosquitoes, flies, ticks, water snails and other vectors. According to the WHO report, every year, more than one billion people are infected and more than one million die from vector-borne diseases. And India is no exception. Mumbai especially is home to many slums that are breeding grounds for these deadly carriers”.
The seminar wound up with an interactve session of question answers with the inquisitive, aware and promising audience present. It was also a day of pride for Consumer Online Foundation’s Mumbai office as Mr.Ashok Dongre was welcomed into the movement by our Chief Guest. Mr. Ashok Dongre is a retired Special Inspector General of Police-Maharashtra State & Controller Legal Metrology-Govt. of Maharastra, Mumbai. He will now be involved actively with the organisation and its causes. The audience applauded Mr.Dongre’s induction to the organisation and were delighted to see such promising personalities enter the movement.
Be It vector borne diseases or the Maharashtra Model prescription format, all discussions focused on the need for right to access quality health care. World Health Day was successfully observed at this event with one motive alone….to help save valuable consumer lives.
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