*   Working of The Government
1.    The Legislative Assembly is not the only place where opinions are expressed about the work of the government and action is demanded. 
2.    Newpapers, TV channels and other organisations regularly talk about the government. In a democracy, there are various ways through which people express their views and also take action.
3.    The  people in power like the chief minister and the minister have to take action. 
4.    They do so through various departments like the Public Works Department, the Agriculture Department, the Health Department, the Education Department and so on. 
5.    They also have to answer questions that are asked in the Legislative Assembly and convince people asking the questions that proper steps are being taken. 
6.    At the same time, newspapers and the media widely discuss the issue and the government has to respond, for example, by holding the press conferences.

Role of the Government in Health
1.    Health means our ability to remain free of illness and injuries. 
2.    India has a large number of doctors, clinics and hospitals. 
3.    This is a system of hospitals and health centres run by the government. 
4.    It has the ability to look after the health of a large section of its population scattered over hundreds. 

We can roughly divide up various healthcare facilities in two categories:
    (a) Public health services and                 
    (b) Private health facilities.

Public health services
1.    The Public health service is a chain of health centres and hospitals run by the government. They are linked together so that they cover both rural and urban areas.
(i)    At the village level there are health centres where there is usually a nurse and a village health worker. They are trained in dealing with common illnesses and work under the supervision of doctors at the Primary Health Centre (PHC). Such a centre                 covers many villages in a rural area. 
(ii)    At the district level is the District Hospital that also supervises all the health centres.
(iii)    Large cities have many government hospitals.

Function of Public Health Care
    The health service is called ‘public’ for many reasons. 
1.    In order to fulfil its commitment of providing healthcare to all citizens. One of the most important aspects of the public health system is that it is meant to provide quality healthcare services either free or at a low cost, so that even the poor can seek                   treatment. 

2.    Another important function of public health is to take action to prevent the spread of diseases such as TB, malaria, jaundice, cholera, diarrhoea, chikungunya.
3.    According to our Constitution, it is the primary duty of the government to ensure the welfare of the people and provide health care facalities to all.The government must safeguard the Right to Life of every person. 

Private health facilities
1.    There is a wide range of private health facilities that exist in our country. 
2.    A large number of doctors run their own private clinics. 
3.    In the rural areas. one finds Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs). 
4.    Urban areas have large number of doctors. 
5.    Hospitals and nursing homes that are privately owned many laboratories shops from where we buy medicines.
6.    Private health facalities are not owned or controlled by the government. 

Healthcare and equality: Is adequate healthcare available to all?
    In order to earn more money, these private services encourage practices that are incorrect. At times cheaper methods, though available, are not used. Doctors prescribing unnecessary medicines, injections or saline bottles when tablets or simple                    medicines can suffice.
    Women’s health concerns are considered to be less important than the health of men in the family. Many tribal areas have few health centres and they do not run properly. 

What can be done?
    It is the responsibility of the government to provide quality healthcare services to all its citizens, especially the poor and the disadvantaged.

The Kerala experience
       In 1996, the Kerala government made some major changes in the state. Forty percent of the entire state budget was given to panchayats. They could plan and provide for their requirements.
(i)    This made it possible for a village to make sure that proper planning was done for water, food, women’s development and education.
(ii)    This meant that water supply schemes were checked, the working of schools and anganwadis was ensured and specific problems of the village were taken up.
(iii)    Health centres were also improved. All of this helped to improve the situation.

The Costa Rican approach
Costa Rica is considered to be one of the healthiest countries in South America. Decided not to have an army. This helped the Costa Rican government to spend the money that the army would have used, on health, education and other basic needs of the people.The Costa Rican government provides basic services and amenities to all Costa Ricans. for example, it provides safe drinking water, sanitation, nutrition and housing. Health education is also considered very important and knowledge about health is an essential part education at all levels.

Public : An activity or service that is meant for all people in the country and is mainly organised by the government. This includes schools, hospitals, telephone services, etc. People can demand these services and also raise questions about their non-functioning.

Private : An activity or service that is organised by an individual or company for their own profit.

OPD : This is the short form for ‘Out Patient Department’. This is where people are first brought in and treated in a hospital without being admitted to any special ward.

Majority : This is a situation when more than half the number in a group supports a decision or an idea. This is also called a simple majority.

Opposition : This refers to elected representatives who are not members of the ruling party and who play the role of questioning government decisions and actions as well as raise new issues for consideration in the Assembly.

Illustration 1    
    What do you understand by the term Medical tourists?
    This refers to foreigners who come to this country specifically for medical treatment at hospitals that offer world-class facilities at a lower cost than what they would have to pay in their own countries.    
Illustration 2
    What is an OPD
    This is the short form for ‘Out Patient Department’. This is where people are first brought in and treated in a hospital without being admitted to any special ward.

Illustration 3
    What do you mean by public services/Activity
    Public: An activity or service that is meant for all people in the country and is mainly organised by the government. This includes schools, hospitals, telephone services, etc. People can demand 

Illustration 4
    What is the press Conference?
    A gathering of journalists from the media who are invited to hear about ask questions on a particular issue and are then expected to report on this to the large public.