Health is on one hand a highly personal
responsibility and on the other hand a major
It thus involves the joint efforts of the whole
Although health is now recognised a
fundamental right , it is essentially an
In large measure , it has to be earned and
maintained by the individual himself , who
must accept a broad spectrum of
responsibilities , now known as “self care”
It is defined as “ those health generating
activities that are undertaken by the persons
It refers to those activities individuals
undertake in promoting their own health ,
preventing their own disease , limiting their
own illness , restoring their own health.
The generic attribute of self care is its non-
professional , non bureaucratic , non industrial
character , its natural place in social life.
Self care activities comprise observance of simple
rules of behaviour relating to diet , sleep ,
exercise , weight , alcohol , smoking , drugs ,
personal hygiene , cultivation of healthful
habits , lifestyle , submitting oneself to
selective medical examinations, screening ,
accepting immunisation and carrying out other
specific disease preventive measures , reporting
early when sick , accepting treatment ,
undertaking measures for the prevention of a
relapse or of the spread of the disease to others
, family planning.
The individual and community responsibility are
complementary , not antithetical.
The current trend is to “demedicalize” health and
involve the communities in a meaningful way. This
implies a more active involvement of families and
communities in health matters , “planning ,
implementation , utilisation , operation , evaluation
of health services”. In other words , the emphasis has
shifted from “health care for the people to health
care by the people”
The Village Health Guides scheme in India launched
in 1977 is an example of community participation.
There are three ways in which a community
The community can provide in the shape of
facilities , manpower , logistic support , and
It also means the community can be actively
involved in planning , management , and
An equally important contribution that
people can make is by joining in and using
the health services.
Long ago Henry Sigerist , the medical
historian stated that “ The people’s health
ought to be the concern of people
themselves . They must struggle for it and
plan for it. The war against disease and for
health cannot be fought by physicians alone.
It’s a people’s war in which the entire
population must be mobilised
The state shall , in particular , direct the
policy towards securing
That the health and strength of workers , men
and women and the tender age of children
are not abused and that citizens are not
forced by economic necessity to enter
avocations unsuited to their age or strength.
That childhood and youth are protected
against moral and material abandonment.
That state shall , within the limits of its
economic capacity and development , make
effective provision for securing the right to
work , to education , and to public assistance in
cases of unemployment , old age , sickness and
disablement and in other cases of undeserved
The state shall make provision for securing just
and humane conditions of work and maternity
The state shall regard the raising of the level of
nutrition and standard of living of its people
and the improvement of public health as
among its primary duties.
The WHO is a major factor in fostering
international cooperation in health.
The TCDC (Technical Cooperation In
Developing Countries) , ASEAN (Association
Of South East Asian Nations ), SAARC (South
Asia Association for Regional cooperation)
The eradication of smallpox , the pursuit of “
Health For All” and the campaign against
smoking and AIDS are a few recent examples of
international responsibility for the control of
disease and promotion of health.