Community Responsibility

Health Hygiene & Sanitation

Lesson 08 : Responsibility Of Health

Community Responsibility

Health can never be adequately protected by health services without active understanding and participation of the communities whose health is at risk. Until recently people were not considered as health resource who can help in providing and protecting health but were always considered as a prey to pathogens, health seekers and consequently a target for preventive and therapeutic services. This negative view of people’s role has been changed because of the realization that there are many things which can be realized through community efforts only but not by individual himself. Both individual and community responsibilities are complementary to each other but not antithetical. Currently, it is felt essential to de-medicalise health and involve communities, families in a fruitful way. This implies a more active involvement of families and communities in matters related to health like

  1. Planning
  2. Implementation
  3. Utilization
  4. Operation
  5. Evaluation of health services

It is no longer “Health care for the people” but can be changed as “Health care by the people”. “Village Health Guide” scheme of GOI launched in 1977 is an example of community participation.
Totally there are three ways in which a community can participate.

  1. The community can provide in the shape of facilities, manpower, logistic support and funds.
  2. The community can be actively involved in planning, management and evaluation
  3. The people can join in and use the health services particularly for preventive and protective aspects.

However, no standard pattern of community participation can be recommended since there is a wide range of economic and social problems as well as political and cultural traits among and within the communities.
However, it is not easy to get community involvement in India because of the fact that India is a country with varied religious and caste, this is a serious obstacle in obtaining community participation.

Henry Sigerist states that ‘The people’s health ought to be the concern of the people themselves. They must struggle and plan for it. The war against disease or health cannot be fought by the physician alone. It is a people’s war in which the entire population must be mobilized permanently.

Last modified: Monday, 23 April 2012, 8:02 AM