The Indian healthcare system is not in a good state with the number of issues in the system increasing day by day. Challenges such as lack of Centralised Accident and Trauma centres along with ambulances need to be addressed. Delhi used to have just 34 ambulances for its 15 million population, and has only recently scaled up the number to 100.
But, some time back, the Supreme Court took a decision, which stated that those people who bring these road accident victims to hospitals cannot be detained by the police. Police can only ask for information. One wonders if the mentality of the Indian people will change with the Supreme Court's decision, and they will take such victims for treatment. This is only one of the many ills that exists in cases of road accident.
With the number of road accidents on the increase each year, top facilities are required in order to meet the situation. “What it (Indian health care system) requires is lot of focus on services like Ambulances.”, says Subhadra Menon, a Health Communicator in Delhi. Forget other major cities, if we look at the stats in the nation's capital, Delhi has a population which exceeds 15 million but used to have only 34 ambulances! Though recently, it has increased to more than 100 which is still not enough. “These numbers are not enough, but definitely it is a good start. It is not possible to increase the numbers to 1000 in a short span,” Dr Mehta told this citizen journalist.
Some of these ambulances do not have the required facilities inside an ambulance. Dr Mehta says, “It is just used as a transport system. Very few of these vehicles may have doctors, nurses, and ventilators, etc.” What if the person dies while the victim is taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Who is to be blamed? Dr Mehta suggests that certified courses needs to be introduced so those inside the ambulance could at least give them first-aid during an emergency.
There are very few Centralised Accident and Trauma centres in the country. In these centres also, how many of them have the required facilities is a moot question? These centres play a very important role after the accidents, as it is in these centres that victims can be brought into a stable condition. These centers need to have good access to the blood bank, as most of the emergency and trauma victims have major loss of blood post-accident. Dr. Mehta puts up an important question, “Is the staff in such centres available 24 hours?”
There is a serious need for the Government to look into this crucial issue in emergency care. When asked about the cost of setting up such centres, Dr Mehta said, “Not too much (money), but it benefits a lot of victims.” We cannot put a cost to a human life. Healthcare remains to be one of the most neglected sectors, as only 2% of the GDP goes towards healthcare - and compared to India, the US spends around 7% of its GDP on health.