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World Health Day: Experts call for UHC

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This World Health Day, health experts’ suggestions and recommendations for people for better healthcare

Primary healthcare is the most efficient and cost effective way to achieve universal health coverage in India. It is believed that the lack of primary care puts populations at great risk of health problems and costs the world trillions which is why there is the need to improve quality and safety of health.

Dr Vishal Gupta, Consultant, Dept of Family Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Noida

Five tests one should get done annually.

Blood pressure test: Normal blood pressure is considered to be anything below 130/90. Pre hypertension is defined as systolic reading between 120 and 130. Hypertension is defined as blood pressure of 130/90 or higher. There are two types of blood pressure.

  1. High blood pressure: It often has no symptom. Over time, if untreated, it can cause health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke.
  2. Low Blood Pressure: In low blood pressure, you feel dizziness or light-headedness, fainting (syncope), blurred vision, nausea, fatigue and lack of concentration.

ECG: An ECG (electrocardiogram) records the electrical activity of your heart at rest. The resting ECG is different from stress or exercise ECG test if you have risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure. Symptoms include heart palpitations, rapid pulse, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, light-headedness, or confusion, weakness, fatigue or a decline in ability to exercise.

Blood Sugar Test: A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/L) is normal, while a fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dl (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) is considered pre diabetes. If it’s 126 mg/dl (7 mmol/L) or higher on two separate tests, you have diabetes. The symptoms of blood sugar are increased thirst, increased hunger (especially after eating), dry mouth, frequent urination or urine infections.

X-Ray Chest (Lungs) Test: A chest x-ray produces images of the heart, lungs, airways, blood vessels and the bones of the spine and chest. An x-ray (radiograph) is a non-invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Ultrasound Test: Abdominal ultrasound is a type of imaging test. It is used to look at organs in the abdomen, including the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas and kidneys. The blood vessels that lead to some of these organs, such as the inferior vena cava and aorta, can also be examined with ultrasound. Ultrasound can also measure the flow of blood in the arteries to detect blockages.

Dr P Venkata Krishnan, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon

Allowing universal healthcare to people is past the idea of service provided to them – it is the duty of the governments to ensure that no single person is out of the ambit of healthcare services. That is a huge challenge for a populous country like India due to which we have a wide range of health programmes with specific focus on diseases and preventive healthcare. However, rural and remote parts of India still lag in accessing basic and primary healthcare facilities due to lack of staff and equipment. As a result, healthcare workers from these areas report a higher morbidity and mortality. The recent initiative to create health and wellness centres will bring healthcare services closer to these people and will provide comprehensive care, including against non-communicable diseases as well as maternal and child health services. Occasions such as the ‘World Health Day’ present an opportunity for policymakers of health and other government decision-makers to commit to taking action to address gaps in universal health coverage in their countries, as well as to highlight progress that has already been made.

Manish Gupta, General Manager, Columbia Asia, Gurgaon

Taking care of one’s health is a must as we battle bad air quality and polluted environment around us. As we observe World Health Day, it is incumbent upon us to take care of our health and fitness all the time. To make ourselves free of any ailment or disease, we must ensure access to the quality and affordable health services both in urban and rural areas. Also, there is a need for people to go through regular health check-ups to diagnose any health complications in advance and treat them on time. Having a full body check-up every year is the best way to achieve long-term good health. The people are also advised to get health insurance coverage that will help them in case of emergencies and also save them from undesired medical expenses. The investment in health insurance will not only benefit them health wise, but will also provide them with tax benefits.

Dr Brunda, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital

According to Lancet report (2018), almost 2.4 million Indians die of many treatable conditions every year which is the worst situation among 136 nations in the world. The report further highlights that insufficient access to healthcare and poor quality care has led to the deaths of more than 1.6 million Indians in 2016 leading to a huge economic loss for the country.

The solution to solving this problem requires that data be collected on gender, age, income, location, education and other factors that affect access to health services. The information, once gathered, has to be distributed among policy and decision makers so that they can ensure that the right access to healthcare is available to all, informs

The first level of contact for good health is the primary health sector where all people receive most of their healthcare – from prevention, treatment to rehabilitation and palliative care. This access should be available close to their homes or workplace. This kind of primary care ensures that health is taken care of on an overall level, and not limited just to the treatment of a specific condition or disease. In India, a wide range of services are offered at primary health centres – such as basic screening, vaccines, information on preventing disease, treatment of long-term health problems and more. The important reason for taking up primary care is that it is a cost-effective and equitable mode of delivering services and a practical way of trying to reach the goal of universal health coverage.

Releasing its third edition of India’s annual healthcare map in line with the ‘World health Day’, Practo highlights that India is getting serious about healthcare. The report demonstrates that Indians visited their doctors 3.2 times a year in 2018, up from 2.7 times in 2017, with urban Indians visiting two times more often than Indians in smaller towns and cities.

Out of the seven metros namely Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata, people from Bengaluru visit the most at 4.8 times a year, while Delhites the least, at 3.8 times. Besides, the specialities that emerged as the top three are gynaecology, dermatology and paediatrics.

The report also mentions that healthcare is slowly becoming a key priority for Indians. Improving doctor-patient ratio overnight is not possible, hence, it’s important to increase efficiencies, make it more accessible and affordable. Organized Medicine Academic Guild feels that “as young India gets older, the need for medical supervision will only go up and Digital healthcare companies like Practo will play a huge role in that.

Vishal Phanse, CEO, Piramal Swasthya

In today’s fast pace of life it has become very important to keep a check on not only one’s physical health but also one’s mental health. This will not only enhance one’s life quality but will also strengthen one’s relationship with others that are a part of one’s life and uplift one’s performance levels at all fronts. Following are few things that have been picked from various researches done and are now basic checks to attain a happy and healthy life going forward.


Ensure that you have some type of physical activity as a part of your daily routine. For instance a 30 minute walk as a part of your daily commute. Alternatively fifteen – twenty minutes of yoga. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of non-communicable diseases- ischaemic heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression and also prevents, overweight and obesity according to information shared on National Health Portal (NHP)


Spend fifteen minutes of your day on deep breathing exercises and focus on mindfulness. This helps in lowering blood pressure and cuts down the stress levels and related pain. On the other hand it also increases serotonin production that enhances your mood and behaviour. Meditation also improves the immunity levels.


Drink generous amounts of water and reduce the consumption of sugary / carbonated beverages that are anhydrous and deplete your body’s natural fluids and make you thirsty . Drinking adequate quantity of water leads to removal of toxins and help in weight loss. In addition to several other benefits it boosts the immunity system and also prevents headaches and cramps. Consumption of sugary and carbonated beverages on the other hand leads to obesity and diabetes. According to some studies it also increases the chances of heart diseases as high calories increase the chances of developing metabolic syndrome which raises the risk of heart attack.


Focus on ensuring a balanced nutritious diet with a healthy proportion of proteins, carbohydrates , fats. Reduction in consumption of processed foods that are high on sodium and are natural de hydrant. According to WHO a balanced diet is important for a happy and healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet can protect the human body against certain types of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. Balanced diet should also include vitamins and minerals that are important to boost immunity. Processed food with high content of sugar, sodium, and fat can lead to serious health issues, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. Also according to a recent study, which was published in the BMJ it was found that foods that are ultra-processed and contain artificial colours and flavours, additives, and emulsifiers can also be linked to an increased risk of cancer.


Average human body requires 7–8 hours of rest to be rejuvenated for the next day. Research shows that lack of sleep increases the risk for obesity, heart disease and infections. According to Dr Merrill Mitler, a sleep expert and neuroscientist at NIH, sleep services all aspects of body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness and mood. Deficiency in sleep can lead to depression, mood swings and depression amongst other disorders.

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