Self-care medical interventions (The
Mains Paper 2: Health
Prelims level : Self-care medical interventions
Mains level : Measures needed to improve Self-care medical system
- Self-care, which mostly happens outside the formal health system,
is nothing new.
- What has changed is the deluge of new diagnostics, devices and
drugs that are transforming the way common people access care, when and
where they need them.
- With the ability to prevent disease, maintain health and cope with
illness and disability with or without reliance on health-care workers,
self-care interventions are gaining more importance.
Healthcare problems in India
- Millions of people, including in India, face the twin problems of
acute shortage of healthcare workers and lack of access to essential health
- According to the World Health Organization, which has released
self-help guidelines for sexual and reproductive health, over 400 million
across the world already lack access to essential health services and there
will be a shortage of about 13 million health-care workers by 2035.
About Self-help system
- Self-help would mean different things for people living in very
- While it would mean convenience, privacy and ease for people
belonging to the upper strata who have easy access to healthcare facilities
anytime, for those living in conditions of vulnerability and lack access to
health care, self-help becomes the primary, timely and reliable form of
- The WHO recognises self-care interventions as a means to expand
access to health services. Soon, the WHO would expand the guidelines to
include other self-care interventions, including for prevention and
treatment of non-communicable diseases.
Measures needed to improve healthcare
- India has some distance to go before making self-care
interventions for sexual and reproductive health freely available to women.
- Home-based pregnancy testing is the most commonly used self-help
diagnostics in this area in India. Interventions include self-managed
abortions using approved drugs morning-after pills taken soon after
unprotected sex, and mifepristone and misoprostol taken a few weeks into
pregnancy that can be had without the supervision of a healthcare provider.
- While the morning-after pills are available over the counter,
mifepristone and misoprostol are scheduled drugs and need a prescription
from a medical practitioner, thus defeating the very purpose of the drugs.
- The next commonly consumed drug to prevent illness and disease is
the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention. India is yet to come
up with guidelines for PrEP use and include it in the national HIV
- Despite the WHO approving the HIV self-test to improve access to
HIV diagnosis in 2016, the Pune-based National AIDS Research Institute is
still in the process of validating it for HIV screening.
- One of the reasons why people shy away from getting tested for HIV
is stigma and discrimination.
- The home-based testing provides privacy. India has in principle
agreed that rapid HIV testing helps to get more people diagnosed and opt for
treatment, reducing transmission rates.
Q.1) With respect to “PUNCH Mission”, consider the following statements:
1. Dipankar Banerjee, an Indian solar physicist from Indian Institute of
Astrophysics has been selected as a Co-Investigator of PUNCH mission by NASA.
2. The mission objective is to find the methane deposits in Jupiter.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
Q.1) India has some distance to cover before making self-care interventions
freely available. Comment.