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World Health Day UPSC NOTE


  • World Health Day, which is observed every year on April 7, unites us around health equity 

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared health to be a fundamental human right. 

  • The theme this year is “My Health, My Right

Health equity

  • Health equity ensures that every person has an equal opportunity to achieve their highest health potential, no matter what their circumstances.

  • Recognising that social, economic, and environmental factors impact health outcomes, this idea goes beyond genetics. 

  • WHO’s mission is to eliminate unfair and preventable disparities in health among different social and economic categories.

  • True health equity addresses the root causes of health inequities such as poverty, discrimination, limited access to high-quality education, a healthy diet, clean water, fresh air, and housing, and merely grants equal access to health care.

  • The disparity in health access are made worse by pandemics, climate change, and sociopolitical unrest. 

  • To guarantee that everyone may live a healthy life, attaining health equity necessitates a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond legislative reform to address the socioeconomic determinants of health. 

  • Realising each person’s potential for health demands a concerted effort by governments, communities, and individuals to tear down these obstacles.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly revealed that infectious diseases target marginalised and vulnerable groups the most, thus widening the health equity gap. 

  • Climate change poses a serious health risk since it disproportionately impacts low-income and vulnerable people. 

  • The health-care provision is severely hampered by conflicts, which destroy infrastructure, uproot communities, and shut off access to vital medical services.

India’s health equity challenge

  • India is diverse and has wide socioeconomic gaps.

  • Access to health care in rural areas is significantly less than in metropolitan areas. 

  • Social and economic barriers exacerbate this disparity.

  • According to the 2011 Census, urban slums make up over 17% of India’s metropolitan areas, and exhibit serious health disparities. 

  • Health risks are increased by overcrowding, poor sanitation, and restricted access to clean water. 

India’s health equity challenge

  • Infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, are 1.5 times more common in slums than in non-slum areas, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research.

  • Disparities across caste and gender are profound. 

  • National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 (2019-21) data indicates that Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes experience higher child mortality and lower immunisation rates.

India’s health equity challenge

  • Also 59% of women in the lowest wealth quintile suffer from anaemia, almost double the rate in the highest quintile, demonstrating the intersection of caste, gender, and economic status in health outcomes.

  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for more than 60% of all fatalities in India

  • A critical shortage of doctors exacerbates these issues, with WHO data indicating only 0.8 doctors per 1,000 people, which is below the advised ratio

India’s health equity challenge

  • India’s health equity issues require a comprehensive approach beyond improvements in health-care facilities to address more extensive socioeconomic determinants of health. 

  • To move India toward universal health coverage and a more equitable future, the government, civil society, health-care providers, and communities need to work together.

  • Governments and officials may influence the state of health through funding, creative policies, and laws

India’s health equity challenge

  • The National Health Mission (NHM), which includes both the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM), reduces the health-care gap between rural and urban India by expanding access, strengthening infrastructure, and providing essential services to vulnerable populations

  • Achieving health equity requires raising health literacy. 

  • India should turn health equality into a shared, community-driven goal by including health education in the NHM, enabling its people to seek equitable care and make educated health decisions

Way Forward

  • Organisations with a strong local presence are essential for health equity. 

  • They actively participate in every phase, from planning to evaluation, to guarantee the relevance and effectiveness of health programmes. 

  • They also have a thorough understanding of their community’s requirements.

  • Effective collaboration among many sectors, ranging from policymakers to grassroots organisations, may significantly enhance health equity and pave the path for a time when access to high-quality health care would be a shared reality rather than a privilege



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: World Health Day UPSC NOTE
World Health Day UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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