In the World health report of World health organisation; India ranks at 112, in a list of 190 countries. This points out at the obvious lack of development in medical sector as well as the apathy of government towards the well being of it’s citizens.
The land of Yoga which once held the secrets of good health and longevity is now riddled with innumerable health issues. It won’t be right to blame the system or the doctors for it completely. As citizens and an individual we owe the responsibility of our health as much as anyone.
So here are the top 5 roadblocks to a Healthier India.
Indians don’t have one staple food like rest of the world, our food includes the likes of rice, wheat, pulses and maize. With the advent of consumerism these grains now undergo processing which steals valuable fibers from them leaving us with high carbohydrate foods with high glycemic index. This has led to an epidemic of sorts of obesity in India. Also consumption of food with high glycemic index leads to higher predilection of developing diabetes.
With such food habits it’s no wonder that India is the diabetic capital of the world.
Lack of exercise
According to a report only 1 in 10 Indians exercise regularly. Coming from the country that boasts of being the mother of Yoga, the irony is not lost here.
We are an inherently agrarian society with our lifestyle and culture molded around it. With the introduction of computer age we moved towards a more sedentary lifestyle and with time adopted it completely. What we forgot in the midst of all this is that our 10-6 job may fulfill our monetary needs but it doesn’t give our body the exertion it requires to stay fit. May be in the rat race to earn more we have forgotten that Health is wealth and not the other way around.
India ranks 12th in the list of highest number of suicides. Every 40 seconds a life is lost due to self-murder in this country. Suicide by pesticides is the most common method in rural areas, that’s ironic since pesticides were introduced to make life of famers easy and today they are helping them end it.
With no dedicated suicide helpline and the stigma attached to mental health issues, it’s not surprising that people end their lives when they have no one to turn to in their lowest moment.
There are 120 million smokers in India that cause 1 million deaths in the country due to direct or indirect smoke, according to an estimate by WHO. What’s more concerning is that India doesn’t considers addiction as an illness.
Our country is stuck in the vicious cycle of drug abuse and trafficking with number of addicts increasing everyday. According to an unofficial estimates there are as much as 5 million heroin addicts in India. With the increase in use of intravenous drugs there has been a proportional rise in spread of hepatitis and HIV. This has given new dimensions to the problems related to substance abuse and complicated it.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says , “Unhygienic conditions and practices at the household level create a dangerous environment with immediate health risk to children in India. Also, lack of sanitation facilities in schools helps transmit diseases. Waste dumps sites on the outskirts of almost all major cities provide hazardous environmental conditions to those living nearby and even more so to those living as scavengers on such waste. Sanitation interventions, technical and managerial, are badly needed in all areas in houses, schools, and within the community at large.”
In short we are living on the dump of our own waste and drinking from the river where our own excreta is dumped.
We are a country where only 30% of the population has access to clean drinking water because 80% of our sewage gets dumped into the water bodies untreated. This has led to inhumane living conditions for poor who cannot be a part of the 30% elite population and a rise in communicable diseases.
We are the country that gave world Yoga and Ayurveda in past. We are the country that boasts the best skilled doctors. We are the next superpower and we can become that only if we are healthy. This World Health Day, let’s pledge to remove all the roadblocks and move towards a healthier India.