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Health Care


P.S. Chari

THE FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS OF HEALTH NEEDS AND SERVICES
By the Department of International Health, The Johns Hopkins University
Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1976, 292, 60.00

DOCTORS FOR THE VILLAGE
By Carl E. Taylor et al.
Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1976, 197, 40.00

VOLUME II NUMBER 2 March-April 1977

The web of medical care is both tang­led and torn. There is unhappiness on every side about the way in which medi­cal care is provided. The hallmark of our present haphazard system is a lack of planning which really reflects the piti­ful inadequacy of research on the provi­sion of medical care. The Functional Analysis Research Project concentrated on a systems analy­sis of the whole health care complex with the objective of developing a methodo­logy for relating health needs to resour­ces. Data were gathered through house­hold interviews in Punjab and Mysore, as well as in three provinces in Eastern Turkey. Their research experience sug­gests that the most efficient mechanism is the collection of a limited body of carefully screened and coordinated infor­mation, followed by a standardized, so­phisticated analysis which maximizes the utility of the data obtained. The propos­ed information format is described as the Fundamental Information Generating System (FIGS). Assuming that one is able to quantify both health needs and the provision of services on a functional basis, the problem remains of translating the inevitable incongruencies and imbal­ances into relative priorities for remedi­al action. Doctors for the Villages is a study of  the attitude of interns from seven Indian Medical Colleges towards rural health services and the structural and organiza­tional changes needed to improve rural health care. Improving the health of vil­lage people is good economics because of the clear relationship between health and productivity and is good politics because most voters are rural people. It is also becoming increasingly evident that it makes good sense demographically beca­use of the synergistic potential of integra­ting health and family planning services.  Above all, social justice demands that the rural poor be provided access to the basic services which are now feasible. In 1952, health became part of the national community development program­me. Idealistic motivations led to overopti­mistic expectations though without such hope and enthusiasm, the tremendous progress of the past 25 years would not have been possible. On the other hand, hopes and ideals are not surrogates of reality. The need for intensive research is apparent because India's efforts to de­velop rural health and family planning services represent one of the most signi­ficant public programmes being underta­ken in the world today. Interns rated social and preventive me­dicine and public health very ...


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