In India, where mostly health care expenditure is borne by the individual, free health camps by organisations help in bridging the gap of accessibility to affordable health care.
In one such free health camp organised by PES College of Pharmacy, Bengaluru, individuals were freely tested for blood sugar, blood pressure and BMW. Dr. Saravanan, Principal of PES University –Faculty of Pharmaceutical sciences told The Observer, “The free health camp has been an annual ritual. Every year, it is conducted alongside the pharma exhibition by our students. The purpose of the free health camp is that people who are unable to afford the diagnosis or blood tests for diseases like diabetes and other non-communicable diseases can benefit from it. Till last year, blood donation was also a part of this.”
He added, “In a year, we conduct such camps not less than four times. We printed 1000 pamphlets to advertise about the camp and we have distributed in the areas of Srinivas Nagar, Girinagar and Hanumantha Nagar. Around 100-150 people benefit from the camp.”
The exhibition and health camp was inaugurated by Dr. M R Doreswamy, ex- MLC who went through all of the students’ exhibits with interest. The exhibits were from various departments like pharma chemistry, pharmacology and other departments with the topic of the exhibits ranging from Nipah virus to alcohol metabolism.
Dr. Roopa Shree, consultant of District Health and family welfare society, Bengaluru urban district said, “We conduct health camps with specialists. There are various camps like eye checkup camps, mental health camps, cancer screening camps, etc. Through health camps, we reach people who generally don’t come to the hospitals. Instead, we go to them. Particularly, in today’s scenario where non-communicable diseases such as diabetes are increasing, it is important to check all individuals for blood sugar. Checking BMI is also important as lifestyle diseases are also on the rise.”
The government has taken various initiatives to make health care affordable like Ayushman Bharat, Jan Aushadhi stores, Mission Indradhanush. But despite the schemes, lack of awareness about such schemes and the condition of government hospitals compared with private hospitals forces the average Indian to spend 70% of household expenditure on medicines, according to National Health Accounts.
Business Standard in May 2018, reported that Karnataka’s per capita investment in health was the lowest among South Indian states despite being one among the first Indian states to put a state health policy in place in 2004. Deccan Herald on November 20, 2019 reported that ‘a ‘Health Awareness and Check-up Camp’ was set up at the Parliament House’ in Delhi.