Date(s) - 26/08/2017
2:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Jawaharlal Nehru Auditorium
Condition of health care is a growing concern in India
Results of the latest Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study published in the medical journal The Lancet show that India fell as many as 11 places to rank 154 out of 195 countries in the GBD rankings for healthcare access and quality (HAQ). She is now placed below most of her neighbors with Bangladesh having a score of 51.7, Bhutan 52.7, Nepal 50.8 and Sri Lanka 72.8. Without denying credit due to these countries, the state of health care in India is further put in perspective by the fact that a newborn in war ravaged Somalia and Afghanistan had a better chance of survival than those born in India.
It is remarkable that these results come after more than a decade of implementation of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and National Health Mission (NHM), which were meant to rejuvenate the health system by correcting structural anomalies in the delivery of health care.
In the era of corporate health care there seems little inclination on part of the health planners to make the State to account for the condition of people’s health. The rulers of independent India have succeeded in maintaining rural-urban, public-private, curative-preventive and the rich-poor dichotomies, reminiscent of colonial India, in the delivery of health care.
Since the beginning of the ‘New Economic Policies’ in 1990 the governments at the center and in the states have enabled a massive growth of private sector at the cost of huge public subsidies. Not only has the public sector been starved of resources but there have been vigorous efforts at commercializing the public health services through the imposition of user fee. The saga of Indian health care system entails a massive increase in the cost of health care in both public and private health care institutions alongside an increase in the cases of untreated illness and people being pushed below poverty line due to illness expenditure.
The new health policy, announced recently, virtually does away with the idea of a comprehensive and universal health care by supplanting it with a curative care model facilitated, at best, through publically funded health insurance schemes targeted for the below poverty line families. The available experience of implementation of these schemes shows that not only are these doomed to be a failure but shall further enfeeble the public sector health care.
There is little point in lamenting about all of this while the need is to build a sustained movement, particularly of the youth, against these policies in order to force the Indian rulers to accept the responsibility of the State to be the guarantor of health care for all Indians. This can only be feasible by strengthening the Public health care system and curtailing the big private sector.
This Peoples’ Initiative for Health for All’ is a step in this direction. All of us associated with this move resolve to take this effort further such that the aspirations of the Indian people for a comprehensive health care provided by the State can gain a strong voice. As a first step in this direction we are organizing a meeting at the auditorium of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on ‘Health for All’ on the 26 of August, 2017. We call upon the doctors, nurses, paramedical health workers, medical students and the members of the public to lend their heartiest support to this endeavor by making this meeting a resounding success. Also find attached along with a concept note regarding this initiative.
(Some students and doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences are organizing a meeting on 26th August 2017. This meeting is part of our contribution in the efforts to work towards achieving Health for All. We appeal to doctors, students, scientists, other health personnel as well as activists of the people’s organizations concerned to actively associate with this initiative and participate in this meeting. Some prominent people, as mentioned below, who are working for this objective shall be among the speakers.)
The following shall be the speakers:
- Dr K S Reddy
Chair, High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage, and President, Public Health Foundation of India
- Dr Punyabrata Gun
Noted health activist from West Bengal and formerly associated with Shaheed Hospital, Chhattisgarh. He shall speak on ‘Campaign on Health for All in West Bengal’
- Dr Sujoy Bala
President Shramjibi Swasthya Udyog, West Bengal. He shall be speaking on ‘Universal Health Care: Experiences of other countries’ and ‘Increasing violence against doctors and Universal Health Care’
- Dr Yogesh Jain
Jan Swasthya Sahyog, Chhattisgarh. Shall be speaking on ‘Issues in Rural Health Care in India.’
- Prof Mohan Rao
Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University
- Dr Pratap Sharan
Professor Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS.