ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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POLITICS-Pre-Election Posturings

programme or taking stale governments and municipalities to task. As early as 1981 the ICSSR-ICMR report. Health for AH: An Alternative Strategy. had warned that there was "hardly any prospect of achieving substantial gains, unless a breakthrough in technology occurs". It had recommended that research be undertaken on alternative methods of vector control and on reintroducing engineering and environmental measures used before the DDT era. In view of the apparent absence of research on programme strategies and technologies for the control of malaria, these suggestions deserve serious attention today. Even more important, it is necessary to restore the pre-1965 levels of investment on disease control programmes. The union government's expenditure on national disease programmes as a proportion of health expenditure came down from 27 per cent in 1965-66 to less than 5 per cent in 1993-94. Except Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, no major state spends more than 15 per cent o\ its health budget on disease control programmes. West Bengal spends just about 9 per cent and Assam a mere 7 per cent Piecemeal and haphazard increases on particular programmes will only worsen the situation for other diseases left out of the largesse The resurgence of malaria is an indicator of a serious systemic problem whose roots go beyond the health sector. The model of health care adopted under the welfare framework in countries like India, where the health revolution which occurred in the western countries as a consequence of economic growth had not taken place, with control of diseases receiving high priority, needs to be re-examined. Clearly, the eradication of communicable diseases, even their efficient control, can only be achieved on a base of sustained and equitable social and economic growth Adequate levels of food consumption, minimum standards of shelter and literacy and education are assumed components of disease control programmes, the absence of which affects their success. While intensive eradication and control programmes can bring down levels of morbidity quickly, they are no substitute for strengthening the social and economic base which itself can only follow political empowerment.

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