• An exclusive community health centers for women-specific health issues with all-women staff, including female doctors, is the need of the hour
• Geriatric care center with Operation theatre performing minor surgeries will be a boon for the older people from poor sections of the Community.
Unfortunately, with its system of annual Zakat for community welfare, the Muslim Community is unable to produce a single project on the line of Aravind eye hospitals. Aravind centers have grown into a network of eye hospitals and have had a significant impact in eradicating cataract-related blindness in India.
Aravind eye hospitals chain provides large volume, high quality, and affordable care. 50% of its patients receive free or at a steeply subsidized rate, yet the organization remains financially self-sustainable. Much importance is given to equity – ensuring that all patients are accorded the same high-quality care and service, regardless of their economic status. A critical component of Aravind’s model is the high patient volume, which brings the benefits of economies of scale. Aravind’s unique assembly-line approach increases productivity tenfold. Over 4.5 lakh eye surgeries or procedures are performed a year at Aravind, making it the largest eye care provider in the world. Since its inception, Aravind has handled more than six crores (65 Million) outpatient visits and performed more than 78 lakh (7.8 million) surgeries. The Aravind Eye Care System now serves as a model for India and the rest of the world.
One of the main issues with the Community funded health care services is that proper survey is not done in the catchment area. Many health care services offered are duplicated and a waste of resources. This writer and his Agency’ Trend Research & Analysis Centre’ (TRAC), surveyed to search for answers to the two common healthcare-related issues faced by the Muslim Community in the covid post period.
• What are the Gaps in the health care delivery system, which requires community investments to save precious lives by timely intervention?
• What are the priority areas in health care which can benefit the maximum number of Poorest amongst Muslims?
The survey was based on the randomly selected 507 respondents spread across India to get general information. The respondents consist of medical practitioners, both public and specialist, and healthcare activists.
Our survey revealed specific Gaps in the Community funded health care facilities which require immediate community attention and resources. These are the deficit areas of Community supported medical care. The percentage mentioned is of respondents identifying respective neglected areas with huge Gaps in the Community funded medical service.
• 88 % Gynac care & Women-specific health issues with female staff
• 83% Geriatric care center with Operation theatre performing minor and routine surgeries (relating to older adults, especially their healthcare.)
• 81 % Dental and oral care
• 79 % Maternity home
• 74% Non Psychiatrist, non medicinal and counseling oriented mental health care system
88% of respondents pointed out that the Emotional, intricate, and sometimes painful realities of women’s Gynac issues are always brushed aside or neglected as consulting a Gynecologist is expensive. Women-specific issues such as elder women going through menopause to a couple struggling to conceive are mostly blamed. Pain and trauma of women who suffer a miscarriage, a woman who has endometriosis, to a girl who gets her period for the first time and its related issues- are neglected and not considered a fit case for consultation with a medical expert. Expensive medical consultancy is a primary reason why women’s specific health issues are always put on back burner to be permanently neglected in most cases.
Our survey revealed that:
• 81% of people agree that women’s health and intimate health-related experiences are not talked about openly
• 48% of women felt that their mental well being had been negatively impacted as a result of not being able to share their women specific health issues openly
• A three fourth of women tried to keep their menopause/ perimenopause a secret and suffered in silence
The current Covid-19 situation has increased the isolation women feel and the complications they experience, as women are now giving birth alone, treatments and surgeries are being delayed.
So, now more than ever is the time for Community to seriously open an exclusive community health center where all staff is women, both technical and non-technical, including female doctors. Who are specialists in women’s health-related issues to speak up about their bodies and health issues to receive the proper support.
The aging process leads to several ailments from knee pain, to diabetics, to general weakness, loss of memory, etc. A large number of elders take two to three prescription drugs for various ailments. Often, these elders are forced to skip their medicines as they are mostly immobile and lack resources for buying medicines. Geriatric centers for older adults should deal with all age-related issues and complications with free medicines. 83 % of respondents strongly feel that health care centers exclusively for older adults should be established. These centers will serve two purposes. First, take care of their ailments, treatment, and medicines. Second, these Geriatric centers for older adults should also be arranged for physiotherapy, a hall for performing exercises, and some basic recreation facilities. Loneliness is the biggest problem of older people. These centers will provide them an alternative for social living. Many older people spend time in the mosque as they have no other secure place to go. That’s a tragedy as Community is blatantly neglecting its old generation.
Private dental care is costly, and since elders are generally non-earning members of the family, they have no option but to bear with dental issues. 81 % of the respondents pointed out that Dental care is costly, particularly for elders’ quality of life is hugely affected as they have lost teeth and have severe oral health care issues. Since these elders have lost their teeth, they have eating problems and digestion problems, and therefore health keeps on declining.
Even dental issues of all age groups are becoming extremely difficult to treat as dental care has already become exorbitant and beyond the reach of ordinary men. There are hardly a few Charitable or government dental clinics. According to 81 % of the respondents, this is one of the most neglected areas of health care and should be taken as a top priority.
In the past, Community has prioritized Community-funded Maternity homes for child deliveries. But gradually a large number of Community funded maternity homes have stop functioning due to a lack of funds or converted these facilities into other lucrative services. Due to the high level of malpractices in the child delivery, giving birth to the child has become expensive and hazardous.
The percentage of caesarian deliveries has alarmingly increased due to the vested interest in private maternity homes and attending gynecologists. It has become a huge racket.79 % of the respondents opine that it’s high time Community funded maternity homes for safe deliveries are build-up so that the life of both mother and child is protected.
Mental health is a big issue. Psychiatric practice is flourishing. Atleast Community has accepted that mental health is a serious issue, and many Muslims are taking psychiatric help. But some problems need non medicinal counseling. 74 % of respondents opined that Counseling centers where qualified psychologists and relationship counselors conduct therapy must be established as there are no such counseling centers. A significant number of divorces can be prevented if these centers also take up family counseling. In Mumbai, SUKOON Counseling center is highly successful. The center has prevented more than 50 divorces in less than three years.
Community-funded health care facilities cannot provide the best in the category facility as other not-for-profit health care facilities across India. Certain community health care facilities are as expensive as any other commercial health care facility. Why are community-funded healthcare services unable to maintain or provide quality health care as provided by Aravind hospitals? Suppose these communities funded health care services become quality conscious and provide world-class treatment. It will attract affluent sections of the Community from all society sections that canpay the commercial rates. This will ensure financial viability, make these centers self-sufficient, and provide for growth and expansion.