Remodeling Medical Education and Health Services Systems to Meet the Actual Health Needs
Health resources in most of the developing countries if they were appropriately utilized, would lead to a significant improvement in the health status of the people. The reasons behind the inappropriate utilization are multiple. On top of the list are:
1. Resources are usually exhausted on the fancy buildings and shiny instruments rather than the appropriate education and training of health personnel.
2. The priority goes to treating people after they become sick instead of dealing with the roots of health problems.
3. The success in health services is usually measured by the number of patients treated, the hospitals and health centers established, and the number of doctors and nurses trained. Whereas the proper measurements should be the actual reduction in morbidity and mortality rates.
4. The main drive is to obtain people satisfaction. People want more doctors and nurses (preferably around the clock), ample amount of medicines (injections are on the top), and machines such as X-ray and laboratory (MRI are highly preferable)! They usually overlook aspects of their actual health needs including a healthy environment, healthy nutrition, early detection of diseases, health education, maternal and child health care, oral hygiene, and other preventive and developmental programs. In short, people's satisfaction is not enough criterion for measuring the success of health services.
5. It is rather crucial to measure performance. However, if we measure it by the number of patients we treat, the drugs we dispense or the amount of procedures we apply, we deceive our purpose. A reliable tool for measuring performance is how much reduction in morbidity and mortality are being achieved.
6. There is no active participation of people in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of health care.
7. Primary Health Care setups are usually occupied by dispensing medicines rather than promoting the health of the people.
The main reasons behind all these deficiencies are:
1. Medical education in both under and postgraduate programs is not adequately relevant to the actual health problems in the community. This issue is applicable, as well, to family medicine programs.
2. Health services systems do not support comprehensive health care.
We hope that the Special Issue of the Health & Environmental Research Journal could act as a platform calling for a change in the medical education and health services system to meet the actual health need of the people.