It is important to continue administering the polio vaccine

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

The chances of polio virus becoming active are higher in an unvaccinated child

New Delhi, 13th February 2018: India was declared polio-free in 2014 by the WHO. It is important for children to continue getting the vaccination as even a small gap in immunization among newborns can be enough for imported virus to seep in from across borders through adults exhibiting no symptoms.

India carried out the first of its two national rounds of Pulse Polio Campaign on January 28 this year. The second is on March 11. These two campaigns will see a huge mobilization of resources to give the oral polio vaccine (OPV) to around 17 crore under-five children.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “The polio virus can hibernate in the human body for a long time. In an unvaccinated child, the chances of the virus becoming active later in life are high. Vaccination helps in the production of antibodies thereby preparing the immune system for a possible attack from the polio virus. Polio usually affects children who drink contaminated water that attacks the nervous system to cause paralysis and continues to be endemic in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The possibility of the virus re-entering India is high, and this is the prime reason for immunization to continue in the country.”

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Although improved public sanitation and careful personal hygiene can help reduce the spread of polio, the most effective way to prevent the disease is with polio vaccine. Also, there is no cure for polio as such and the focus is on prevention. ”

Some facts about the polio vaccine.

  • Polio vaccine should be given immediately after the neonate is born.
  • Some people feel that one dosage of the polio vaccine is enough to prevent the attack from the virus, which is not true.
  • Children should get full doses regimen of the oral polio drops.
  • It is a virus that resides in the throat or the intestinal tract.
  • A common myth associated with polio vaccine is that it causes impotency which is a ridiculous claim. The polio vaccine is the safest vaccine available in India

If we dont self-regulate, then the govt. will

Health Care Comments Off

There has always been a dispute whether healthcare is a commercial business or a social business. The first step in regulation of the medical profession was taken when the medical profession was brought under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Consequently, any medical service provided to the patient in the form of consultation, diagnosis and treatment came to be under the ambit of ‘service’ as defined in the CPA.

In several of its judgements, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has stated that costs/charges in the medical profession must be reasonable. In the matter of Samira Kohli vs Dr. Prabha Manchanda & Anr on 16 January, 2008, the Apex Court said, “28. But unfortunately not all doctors in government hospitals are paragons of service, nor fortunately, all private hospitals/doctors are commercial minded. There are many a doctor in government hospitals who do not care about patients and unscrupulously insist upon unofficial payment for free treatment or insist upon private consultations. On the other hand, many private hospitals and Doctors give the best of treatment without exploitation, at a reasonable cost, charging a fee, which is reasonable recompense for the service rendered. Of course, some doctors, both in private practice or in government service, look at patients not as persons who should be relieved from pain and suffering by prompt and proper treatment at an affordable cost, but as potential income-providers/ customers who can be exploited by prolonged or radical diagnostic and treatment procedures. It is this minority who bring a bad name to the entire profession.”

The word to be taken note of here is “exploitation”. You cannot charge more in an emergency. If you do, this may mean that you are exploiting the patient.

Earning a profit is required for sustenance. But should this justify profiteering? A very fine line separates the two, which must never be crossed.

The word “reasonable” needs to be defined. The govt. always wanted to cap pricing in the medical profession. Towards this end, the govt. introduced the Clinical Establishments Act (CEA) to regulate prices in health care, which was opposed by the IMA.

The govt. is now trying to control prices via TPA, CGHS, state government health scheme and now through the newly launched “National Health Protection Scheme” under the Ayushman Bharat initiative announced in the Budget on Feb.1, 2018. The National Health Protection Scheme will provide coverage of Rs 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary hospitalization, but only under the ‘general ward’ category to about 50 crore beneficiaries. This scheme may be taken advantage of or exploited.

This means that the govt. may cap the prices for each procedure as it did under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), a health insurance scheme for the Below Poverty line (BPL) families, which provided a coverage of Rs 30, 000/- per annum to beneficiaries on a family floater basis. Under this scheme, the govt. has framed indicative package rates for several interventions or procedures.

The only way health sector can be controlled is by way of re-imbursement.   Just as the HMOs have controlled healthcare costs in the US, insurance companies in India too may control pricing in India.

Two types of costs may be worked out; one, a reasonable’ cost, one which could be covered under the ‘general ward’ category as directed by the govt. and the other a ‘private’ cost, which is not capped and allows charging as per the paying capacity of the patient.

If we don’t self-regulate, then the govt. will. Then we may have no choice but to comply with the price cap that has been put by the govt.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee Vice President CMAAO Group Editor-in-chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA