New Delhi: Diarrhoea is emerging as the major health issue in the Capital city as more that five lakh cases were found in 2017-18, according to data collected from government hospitals and dispensaries through RTI.
Diabetes, hypertension, diarrhoea, typhoid and tuberculosis are the top five diseases that citizens of Delhi mostly suffered during the last five years, as per the recent report on status of health in Delhi prepared by Praja Foundation.
As per the data collected through RTI by the NGO from the government hospitals/dispensaries, it showed diarrhoea was the leading health issue with the highest number of cases amounting to 5,01,484, followed by hypertension with 3,67,833 cases in the year 2017-18.
While the Rural Narela zone (21%), West zone (12%) and Rohini zone (12%) having the largest share in the total cases of diarrhoea registered in last four years, it was found that no serious action has been taken by authorities to prevent these diseases to decrease their occurrences.
"There’s an increase in complaints relating to dirty water (water contamination)’ which rose from 27,227
in 2015 to 33,884 in 2017, a 24% increase. One can clearly see how contamination of water has deprived
the citizens of their basic right to clean water supply," according to Milind Mhaske, Director at Praja Foundation.
In a survey commissioned by Praja to Hansa Research of 28,624 households across Delhi, it was found
that estimated 9.5% of the total annual income was spent on hospitals/medical costs in 2018 -- an
estimated overall household expenditure is of Rs 34,078 crores on hospitals/medical costs.
Overall, 71% people of Delhi spend more than 10% of their annual family income on hospital/medical costs while 94% of families in Delhi do not have medical insurance.
There were 7,153 dengue cases and 4,205 malaria cases in Delhi in 2017-18, as per the information received under RTI, while the survey data across all 12 zones of Delhi showed that cases of dengue were as high as 1,06,456 and cases of malaria were 1,26,334.
Cases as per RTI data are from government hospitals and dispensaries, whereas cases per survey data include estimated data of government and private hospitals and dispensaries, based on survey respondents.
As per a citizen survey done in Delhi, the average medical expenses incurred by a family in a year is over Rs 1,00,000, which is about 9.5% of their annual family income. Considering that the medical expenses have become prohibitively expensive, 94% of Delhiites do not have a medical insurance.
The shortage of medical personnel in 2018 is as high as 30% in MCD hospitals and dispensaries
while there is 67% shortage of lecturers in academic positions in state hospitals.
The Praja report states that a total of 17 MLAs have not raised even a single question related to health in from January 17, 2017- January 17 2018.
As many as seven MLAs have not raised any questions on health issues in the last three years - from February 23, 2015 to January 17, 2018.
Nitai Mehta, Founder and Managing Trustee of Praja Foundation, said “The state of health in Delhi truly reflects the state of the health in the country. As a country, we have given no importance to public health and primary health care has been the most neglected of all. The only time the government mentions health is when they are announcing new health schemes and inaugurating new hospitals”.
Mehta further said, "The findings of this report clearly suggest that we are in a terminal decline as far as public health is concerned, the worst part is that our elected representatives do not seem to care about this. This is also reflected in the number of questions asked by our elected representatives on health issues. Overall, only 19 questions have been raised by MLAs on water contamination in the last three years. Similarly, municipal councillors have raised only five issues related to contaminated water across all MCDs and committees."
He said it has been Praja Foundation’s endeavour to bring out the true data on the subject. "We are working on through RTI but at times we do not get the full data, for this we have to use the help of our household surveys to get a true picture of the situation," he added.
Adding to the plight of the people of Delhi, the quality of air pollution has not changed much in last three years. It is high time that something should be done to improve the situation.
One only hopes the government sits up and takes notice about the dangerous situation we are headed
towards and takes corrective action for the citizens of Delhi.