Importance of Health

The Human Development is the combination of three objectives—growth, equity, and democracy. The human development report published by the U.N.O. 1997 described Human Development as the “the process of widening people’s choices and the level of well being they achieve are at the core of the notion of human development”.

The Human Development Index measures the average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development.
1. A long and healthy life as measured by life expectancy at birth
2. Knowledge as measured by the adult literacy rate
3. A decent standard of living as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.

Before calculating Human Development Index, the index for each
of the above three dimensions is created. For this purpose maximum
and minimum values are chosen for each indicator.

CHALLENGES TO SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT 

Since the dawn of civilization, the Indian society has undergone great social changes and developments. The simple primitive society gradually made much advances in social, economic, political and cultural spheres. Despite this remarkable progress, the human development faces ,many challenges. The modern way of living has given rise to many problems. They are health, environmental pollution, gender inequality and the exploitation of women.

HEALTH

‘Health is wealth’ is an old saying which holds true for all times. Health is synonymous with life. It means a life which is free from disease and mental ill-health. Good health implies soundness of mind as well as body. A person must be physically fit and mentally alert in undertaking any kind of work-Physical as well as mental. Disease is the symptom of ill-health. It is a sort of warning to an individual that some vital organ of the body is not functioning in a normal way. He may be unhealthy because of some deficiency of calcium, or iron, or salt, or Vitamins, proteins or because of harmful germ in his blood. A sick person cannot perform his duties efficiently. The unhealthy persons decrease the manpower of the country. They cannot take active interest in the public affairs. They cannot contribute to the social and economic progress of the country. They rather become a burden on their family and the society.

The Hindus and the Greeks in the ancient times realised the importance of good health. The society emphasised the importance not only of bodily health but also of mental and moral health. Bodily health and spiritual glow were the ideals of the ancient Indians.

In the modern times, the importance of health is being fully realised by every country The rapid industrialisation of the countries, the environmental pollution, the tendency of the village people to
migration to cities, has adversely affected the physical health of the people. The stress and strain of the modern day life has greatly increased the number of people suffering from mental disease. Factories and big industries belch out smoke and poisonous gases with the result that the air all around is polluted. The slums with their most insanitary conditions, the narrow streets littered with filth and refuse, the congested areas with no proper ventilation all have a telling effect on the health of the people living in the cities and towns. The condition in the villages is no better. Most of the villages have no supply of clean drinking water. They have no proper sewerage system and the dirty water collects in the stagnant pools. The people living in such unhealthy conditions are usually pale looking and are prey to contagious diseases which take a heavy toll of life. The problem of health has naturally become a cause of great concern for the governments particularly in the poor and developing countries. A serious attention is now being paid to this problem by the governments.

In India, there is a marked difference in the availability and access of medical facilities in different parts of the country The North-Eastern regions do not get so much health facilities as compared to the other regions of the country The Government has launched national health programmes to control communicable and non-communicable diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, blindness, AIDS, diabetes, cancer etc. Malaria used to be a widespread disease in India. In 1976, there were 64.7 lakh cases of malaria in the country. As a result of the efforts of the World Health Organisation and the Indian Government, the number of cases of this disease declined to 23 lakhs by 1985, in spite of the increase in the burden of population and rapid urbanisation. Since 1997, there has been further decline in the incidence of this disease. The National Health Programme aided by the World Bank was successfully completed at the end of 2000 A.D. after six and a half years efforts. This programme has greatly reduced the incidence of leprosy cases. The number of leprosy cases has come down from 57 per ten thousand in 1981 to 5.2 per 10000 by March 2000. Numerous leprosy cases have been cured by Multi Drug Therapy. It is hoped that the incidence of this disease will be reduced to I per ten thousand by the end of 2003. Under the Revised National T.B. Control Programme, the patient cure rate has increased to 8 out of 10 cases.

India has more than one crore blind people. The government has launched a programme to reduce blindness rate from 1.4 per cent to 1.3 per cent. The cataract operations programme has achieved much success. During 1999-2001, 35 lakh operations were performed as against about 33
lakhs in 1998-1999 A.D. The most dangerous disease HTV/AIDS is spreading at an alarming speed in the world. It is not only a public
health problem but a socio-economic issue too. In India, the  second phase of National Aids Control Programme was started in November 1999 to be spread over next five years. It is estimated to cost 1425 crore rupees. The programme aims to reduce HIV infections and to propagate awareness
among the people about the menace of AIDS. An International AIDS Conference was held at Barcelona in August 2000. It was suggested that the world organisations should declare AIDS as health emergency in every country. A fund should be created to finance research for the discovery of preventive vaccination. With the help of the W.H.O., India has launched Polio Pulse Vaccination Programme to eradicate and prevent the incidence of polio. The programme aims to achieve zero incidence of polio in
the country.

The World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) is one of the specialized agencies of the U.N. Its aim is to check and control infectious as well as contagious diseases which are a threat to the people especially in the poor countries. The W.H.O. has done a commendable work in the control of tuberculosis, venereal diseases, cholera, small pox, plague and yellow fever. The U.N. medical experts are sent to every nook and corner of the world and with the close co-operation of local medical experts, campaigns are launched against the fatal diseases.

The discovery of anti-biotic drugs and better surgical apparatus and the use of atomic energy for treatment of diseases like cancer have increased considerably the longevity of man. The rate of mortality has gone down considerably.