State-specific health policy a must

I read Rajesh K. Aggarwal’s article, “State specific health policy must for Punjab” (May 29) with great interest. He has raised serious issues of deteriorating health management system in Punjab. However, these are applicable to many others states also. Punjab has sufficient infrastructure, funds and manpower. But it failed to use allocated recourses optimally. An important question is: when private sector health systems can use their resources optimally, why cannot a state-owned health system be governed in this fashion?

Secondly, the state does not have an impressive health information system. Punjab’s Health Department can go for a comprehensive website where all the health-related information including health statistics can be made available to the public free of cost. The state can use commercial FM radio transmission in their benefit. Health and pollution related short audio clips could be transmitted in a lucid manner so that the common man can be educated regarding his/her health. Government hospitals can also be made clean. In other areas too, these can be made competitive to private sector hospitals so that the public can trust the hospital staff and hence could not be lured by half baked doctors.

The author suggested good points to eradicate the nexus between doctors of civil hospitals and owners of private pathology labs. This is an evil practice which must be curbed at any cost. There are so many advanced health issues which need to be addressed. These can only be taken care of by a well maintained, integrated, and quality conscious management formed of intelligent and concerned persons.

SUDESH K. JAIN, Roorkee (Uttrakhand)



While discussing the health services, quackery is never talked about. Why? For every qualified hospital, there are 50 quacks running the clinics and openly playing with lives of patients without any fear.

Quackery is the most dangerous health hazard. We have failed to identify our health problems and priorities with precious little research into indigenous medical problems and we generally follow the western dictates, data and practice.

The writer has strongly stressed the need for district-wise future health care requirements which gain immense importance in a set up where ad hoc arrangements are a rule. In Punjab, where most don’t have access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation, qualified health services, with ever increasing threat of malnutrition, tuberculosis, rabies, water borne diseases and malaria, where many suffer from anemia, worm infestation and dental diseases leading to increase mortality and morbidity, spending millions of rupees uselessly is deplorable.

We need to have state priorities and strong state health policy based on education, motivation and awareness targeting lifestyle diseases with long term implications. Such write ups should serve as a wake up call for the government to formulate comprehensive long-term health policy inviting useful inputs from the media, public and health experts.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda


Let’s go beyond the rituals

Like every year, this year too, World Environment Day was observed on June 5. However, the organisers seem to be interested only in making it a ritual. Have we ever bothered about our environment?

Global warming has become a major issue today. It results in melting of glaciers, unnatural floods, erratic weather, unexpected climate change and many hazardous problems. On the one hand, we enact Acts for protecting our environment. And on the other, we are not ready to give up the consumption of fossil fuels. We need to adopt a pro-active approach so that we evince some interest about our ecology and take steps that would make our country a better play to live in.


Polluted nallah

Yes, the situation in Ludhiana due to polluted Budda Nallah is worse (Editorial, “Stink of callousness”, June 3). The ground agency has been unable to enforce its orders. The electroplating units continue to discharge untreated waste water into the nallah.

The polluted nallah has also spoiled the Harike pond. All the canals off-taking from the Harika barrage carry highly polluted water covered with foam and floating dead fish.

Water from the off-taking canals of Sirhind feeder, Rajasthan feeder and Rajasthan canal, Bikaner canal, Eastern canal and Makhu canal cover wide area of Punjab’s Malwa region and Rajasthan’s Bikaner, Hanumangarh, Srinagar and Jaisalmer where, in addition to irrigation, people’s drinking water needs are met as the ground water is unfit for consumption.

Those responsible for pollution must be punished, but who will bell the cat? Perhaps, the Supreme Court needs to intervene to set things right.

Dr G.S. DHILLON, Chandigarh


The news-item “Units continue to discharge effluents into nullah” (June 1) is alarming. Electroplating and dyeing units are discharging untreated effluents into the nullah.

How can we conserve the flora and fauna if units continue to release effluents into the nullah? The Punjab Pollution Control Board should take stringent measures against the units found polluting the nullah.

POONAM, Chandigarh

Rebate on rental

It is understood that the MTNL is giving a rebate of 25 per cent in rental charges in the telephone bills to senior citizens. Similar rebate is not being granted by the BSNL. The BSNL should extend the same relief to its senior citizen subscribers.

S. K. KAKKAR, Rohtak



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