As a prelude to National Health Assembly, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Rajasthan organised its state preparatory meeting. The meeting was preceded by a two days state consultation on 31st Aug and 1st Sep, which was specifically focused on discussing issues around reproductive health rights within the context of current health policies which are largely inclined towards privatisation of public health facilities and selective health coverage through insurance.
The planning meeting so organised was mainly focused on building and drawing consensus on the key health demands that the Abhiyan should be pushing for with the political parties, as the state heads for elections this year. There was a clear consensus among the Abhiyan members on most of the demands, just to mention a few, to ensure an increase in state health budget, enforcing stringent norms for private sector regulation, complete withdrawal of any schemes and policies which call for privatisation of public health facilities, ensuring free health care services for all at public health institutions and many others. Based on the demands which emerged, a team was constituted to draft a memorandum of demands on behalf which would eventually be shared with the political parties in the coming days for their endorsements. There was also a lot of discussion around state’s health insurance scheme (Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana) and participants from different parts of the state came up with facts and shared incidents to show how the scheme which is vehemently being promoted by the government as a huge success in actuality is a blunder leading to severe exploitation of patients and violations of health rights. Abhiyan members have taken up the task of documenting and compiling all these incidents so as to bring out the real side of the story. The meeting also had discussions around the National Health Assembly, its agenda and objectives and JSA Rajasthan’s representation therein. Before winding up the meeting Abhiyan members also enthusiastically made contributions in cash and kind (clothes, sanitary napkins etc) to support those affected in recent Kerala floods. The collections so made have been shared with NFIW Rajasthan representatives who have been constantly working in the state to ensure that relief material in all forms reach flood victims in Kerala.