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In this day and age, when it seems like there’s more pressure than ever to live up to impossibly high beauty standards, it’s no surprise that more people than ever are turning to cosmetic surgery to alter themselves. Whether it’s something as simple as getting a little botox to fill out some wrinkles, or a full blown procedure like implants or liposuction, people are relying on cosmetic surgeons to give them the face and body they’ve always dreamed of.
Some people turn to cosmetic surgery to boost their confidence about things that they dislike about their bodies, whereas others may use it to relieve discomfort. For example, many women have breast reductions to reduce the pain that having big breasts may cause in their back, but no matter what you need this surgery for, it’s always really expensive. But what if I told you that one state is offering free breast implants to people who decide that they need them?
Yes, it’s true, one state in southern India has decided to offer free, publicly-funded breast implants to those who wish their boobs were a couple of cup sizes larger. The Tamil Nadu state health department has announced that they will be launching a free clinic in Chennai, the state’s capital, that will offer breast augmentations. It has been revealed that patients at the free clinic will be able to alter the size of their breasts for either health or cosmetic reasons.
The controversial to offer breast implants and reductions completely free of charge has been met with criticism, but Tamil Nadu’s health minister, Dr. C Vijaya Baskar, stands by the decision that was made by The Department of Health and Family Welfare. Dr. Baskar justified the decision in a statement by arguing, “Why should beauty treatment not be available to the poor?” He also argued that if these procedures aren’t available for free, then those who would like to have the surgeries done “may opt for dangerous methods or take huge loans for it.”
Dr V. Ramadevi is the head of plastic surgery at this clinic and she also agrees with the decision to make plastic surgeries free to all who wish to have them. She says that her patients come to her for a variety of reasons, some looking to have their breasts reduced to reduce back pain and others looking for cosmetic enhancements to boost their confidence. She spoke out about the choice to make breast augmentations free, commenting, “There is a psychological benefit. Many girls who have larger breasts don’t like to go out. There is no reason this surgery should be restricted from the poor. And if it’ll help protect those same people from the dangers of cheap black-market plastic surgery, then it does become a viable public health program by association.”
Although some are pleased with the decision to make breast alterations publicly funded, others are criticising the decision, arguing that the money that will be spent on breast enlargements and reductions could be used to fund life saving procedures needed by those who cannot afford them instead. I have to say that the critics have a point, when it comes down to breast augmentations or life saving surgery, a lot of people would think that the choice is a no brainer.
The former public health director for Tamil Nadu had a lot to say about this decision to fund these cosmetic surgeries. Dr. S Elango spoke out about the decision in an interview with The Times of India, saying that it “sounds populist, but it is not an ideal public health programme. State funds are required for emerging non-communicable diseases and communicable diseases. It is sad that we are now focusing on beauty instead of life-saving surgeries.”
However, with India’s public healthcare system having been referred to as ‘abysmal’, it’s easy to see why people would be questioning the decision to make breast augmentations free at the expense of other, arguably more important procedures. It’s been reported that India spends less than one percent of gross domestic product on it’s public healthcare system, which is one of the lowest amounts in the world. With this in mind, is it really a wise idea to fund cosmetic surgery?
What do you think about this state offering free breast implants to people who can’t afford them? Do you think they’re right to offer this service for free? Or should they be spending their money on other public services, rather than cosmetic surgery? Let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends!