The Sundarbans, a unique biosphere reserve of mangrove forests and one of the global heritage sites, are located in the extreme south of West Bengal (an eastern Indian state) and Bangladesh, the neighbouring country. The major findings related to people’s health in the Sundarbans are classified into two groups according to their links to the following areas: (1) health status, and (2) health care utilization.
Free Health Camp with Free Medicine at L Plot, Sundarban, 24 Parganas (South), West Bengal. India
Health status:1. General morbidity rate is higher than the state average.2. The dual burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases is quite evident.3. About half of the children (below 5 years) are chronically malnourished.4. Women share disproportionately higher burden of ailments than men do.Health care utilization:1. Very high utilization of inpatient care reflected by high hospitalization rate (4.2%).2. Absolute dominance of Rural Medical Practitioners (RMP) in outpatient care market.
Free Health Camp with Free Medicine at Jharkhali, Sundarban, 24 Parganas (S), West Bengal. India
Problems with Rural Medical Practitioners:
Gaps in public health care have helped RMPs – the army of less qualified providers – establish a strong network of parallel health care. Their treatment behaviour often reflects lack of judgment regarding rational use of drugs. Poor are usually benefited by RMP services but also bear huge risks associated with utilization of this unregulated practice.
‘Human Life is precious’ and ‘Healthcare is the most essential amenity’. Watching people suffer with chronic disease, physical pain or emotional distress is so disheartening ! Any physical, mental, emotional or social malfunction is terrible and traumatic. Even the persons from the bottom-most rungs of society, from far-flung areas, have Right to Life and Right to Dignified Living ! It is also a matter of Human Rights to help secure every individual a healthy lifestyle and healthy environment.