Health for all

NURSES DAY OBSERVED

THE DAY WE OBSERVED LEAVES A MESSAGE FOR US. LET'S ALL CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS MAKING THE WORLD A HEALTHY PLACE TO LIVE IN, WRITES PROF UPENDRA KAUL

It is very clear that despite achieving many milestones in getting health for all in this millennium, there are still several gaps in the health status and life expectancy between high, middle and low income countries. These are very glaring in the lower income regions like ours. Further the gaps can be clearly identified between men and women and also between rural and urban residents.
The ability to access health services is the key for improving the health status, well being and the longevity of our population. It depends on several factors which include the cost, the health policies and the practices prevalent in the region.
The importance of health professionals especially the nurses is critical in improving the access to health care and equity for achieving good outcomes. This is especially important in our setting where situations are so challenging because of poverty, distances, lack of facilities, harsh weather conditions and political turmoil.
The theme of the International Nurses Day this year has very aptly been chosen as “Closing the Gap: Increasing access and Equity”. Access refers to ability to obtain an item or service at the required time. In the words of Chapman, “Good access exists when patients can get the right service at the right time in the right place”. Equity is the quality of being fair and impartial. 
 Thus the combination of access and equity should fit in like a hand in glove for a good health delivery system. Unequal access to resources, capabilities and rights leads to health inequalities. There are stark disparities in population health and in access to services across the world. As reflected in the WHO documents that some countries enjoy a life expectancy of over 80 years, while the life expectancy in others is less than 50 years. There is thus a tremendous scope to improve access and equity and this lies at the heart of the millennium development goals in year 2001by 192 member states.
 The goals included eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,  achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empower women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, and other communicable diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a Global Partnership for development 
Nurses and other health professionals should work in partnership with patient organizations, voluntary organizations and other interested parties to ensure that patients and public at large have access to appropriate information about health and health services. It is very clear that the task is not easy and needs cooperation of several authorities. We believe where there is will there is a way.
Let all of us take a pledge on this important day that we will work with individuals, families and communities to provide health to prevent illness, to restore health and to alleviate suffering. 

 (Prof Upendra Kaul is Executive Director and Dean Cardiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Fortis, Vasant Kunj New Delhi)

Lastupdate on : Thu, 12 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 12 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 13 May 2011 00:00:00 IST




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