[Answered] Discuss the need for rebuilding the urban primary healthcare system to ensure resilience against unpredictable climatic events.

Introduction: Give a brief context of urban primary health care.

Body: Why is it essential to rebuild the urban primary healthcare system to ensure resilience against unpredictable climatic events?

Conclusion: Way forward

Urban primary healthcare refers to the healthcare services provided to individuals and communities in urban areas as part of their primary care needs. Urban primary health care is a broad term that refers to a variety of medical, preventive, and promotional services that are offered to urban people to meet their fundamental healthcare requirements. A considerable majority of India’s population lives in urban regions, making urban primary healthcare a crucial component of overall healthcare systems.

Why is it essential to rebuild the urban primary healthcare system to ensure resilience against unpredictable climatic events?

  • Health risks: Events brought on by climate change may increase health hazards. Waterborne illnesses can emerge from flooding, vector-borne illnesses like dengue and malaria can spread after flooding, and heatwaves can bring on heat-related illnesses and aggravate pre-existing medical issues.
  • Increased vulnerability of Urban Poor: Urban households, especially those in less developed regions of a city like slums and urban settlement colonies, are probably the most vulnerable. Most residents of these slums and resettlement colonies are indigent, working in the unorganized urban economy without access to social security benefits.
  • Responsibility to Local bodies: The primary responsibility of maintaining the preventive and public health functions of urban primary health care is the responsibility of local bodies. So it is critical to develop the capacity building of urban governance institutions to cater to the healthcare needs of urban citizens.

How to rebuild the health system?

  • Inter-State Cooperation: The prevention of the spread of these illnesses necessitates systematic cooperation between States as well as within each State because of inter-state and intra-state migration.
  • Enhance Public investment: There is a need for greater public investment with an immediate focus on urban areas especially in less developed parts of a city such as slums and urban settlement colonies.
  • Intersectoral Collaboration: Addressing the health impacts of climate change requires collaboration across sectors, including urban planning, disaster management, environmental health, and public health. A rebuilt healthcare system should be designed to work seamlessly with the private sector to create a comprehensive response framework. This can be achieved through greater coordination and cooperation across various actors in terms of knowledge and data sharing, preventive and curative functions, treatment practices, and, above all, the regulation of rates and standards.
  • Front-line workers: There is an urgent need to address the shortage of trained workers in the health sector by creating multi-purpose cadres through the integration of front-line workers across various disease management programs.

Conclusion:

By building a climate-resilient healthcare system, India can better safeguard the health and well-being of its urban population in the face of an increasingly unpredictable climate.

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