Health Assembly, Bihar-2018

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), Bihar organized Health Assembly Bihar-2018 on 13th September 2018 at Bihar Chamber of Commerce, Patna. More than 100 participants from about 60 different organizations have participated in the programme. Ms Priyadarshini Trivedi, Population foundation of India (PFI) welcomes the guest and participants.

Mr Rafay Eajaz Hussain, Save the Children shared the purpose and importance of the health assembly. He said in 1978, at the Alma‐Ata Conference declared “Health for All by the Year 2000” selecting Primary Health Care as the best tool to achieve it. The Alma-Ata declarations were given a silent and reticent burial. It was ensued by developing another international protocol -Millennium Development Goals in 2000 and set a target to achieve these Goals by 2015. Regrettably, these dreams never came true – not the least in India.

Key speaker Dr Abhay Shukla, JSA said that the health, public health and democracy have the deep relationship if we want to create a welfare state. He also emphasized on the slash in the health budget by current government. He shared the nutrition status of country and Bihar. He said recently launched National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) aims to cover almost half the population with publicly funded health insurance. The scheme is built and formulated around an interpretation of universal health coverage that reduces universal health care to health insurance coverage and that too for a proportion of the population. The private health insurance companies and health care providers are already expecting huge windfalls from NHPS. In parallel to this the government has also launched a programme for the provision of Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC). This programme envisages the strengthening of 1.5 lakh existing sub centres and all primary health centres into Health and Wellness Centres (HWC) that would deliver a broader package of preventive, primitive, curative and rehabilitative services delivered close to communities by health care providers. However, for its successful implementation, the system has to commit to more finances, a regular well trained considerably expanded work force and a very robust continuity of care arrangements with a strengthened secondary and tertiary healthcare. Both these components under the Ayushman Bharat have a significant involvement of the private sector, indicating a shift from public provisioning of health towards privatisation. These developments are altering the policy and governance landscape in India, which would have far reaching implications especially in the area of health and healthcare. He said “we don’t need health card we need health right”.

Dr Shakeel, JSA shared the health charter prepared by JSA Bihar core committee and unanimously it was adopted. He said Government Health Expenditure per person per year in Bihar at paltry Rs 338 is the lowest of the 20 states in the country for which estimate was released by National Health Accounts. Total Health Expenditure per capita in Bihar is RS 2047, out of which Out of Pocket Expenditure is Rs 1685 – constituting whooping 82.3% of Total Health Expenditure. A noteworthy percentage of India’s population is being pushed to BPL category because of health expenditure. According to a study by P. Berman, R. Ahuja, L. Bhandari (2010), 6.2 per cent of India’s population has fallen below the poverty line due to expenses incurred on health. More than 40 per cent of the population has to borrow or sell assets for treatment, according to the 2004 National Sample Survey Organisation. He said The time to make health and healthcare a fundamental right is Now!”

Dr Nilangini, SAHAJ shared experience of data driven advocacy for gender equality.

Dr Madhumita Chatterjee, PMCH, Mr Pratiush Prakash, OXFAM, Mr Sandip Ojha, C3, Ms Priyadarshini Trivedi, PFI, Mr Saurabh Kumar, Action Aid, Mr Rupesh Kumar, Right to Food, Ms Sushila & Nivedita Jha, Bihar Mahila Samaj and others has also shared their views.

Click here to view Bihar JSA in news


Assam JSA Convention Held
The Assam State Chapter of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) organised its 3rd. State level Convention on September 9 last at Bhagawati Prasad Baruah Bhavan in Guwahati.
The Convention was jointly organised by the Ellora Vigyan Mancha, Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Assam and Medical and Sales Reprentatives’ Union, popularly known as CRU(NER). However, representatives from several other organisations also participated. These organisations were : the Kasturba Gandhi Memorial National Trust, Assam Science Society, North East Network, Assam Network for Positive People,  Piramal Foundation, Doctor’s for You, ASHA and Anganwari Workers ‘ Union, AIDWA, Nursing Home Employees’ Union, MISSAT, Karunadhara, etc. Few students and Faculty members from IIT, Guwahati and TISS, Guwahati Campus also participated in the Convention. The well attended Convention was co-chaired by Dr. Chandra Mohan Sarma,the President of Ellora Vigyan Mancha and Ms.Madhuri Medhi, former President of GVS, Assam.
The Convention was attended and addressed by Dr. T. Sundararaman, one of the National Convenors of the JSA.
The Draft of the Convention was placed by JSA’s  State Convenor Bijan Das. In his report, Das briefly touched the history of formation of the JSA in Assam in July 2000 and the present state of affairs of the Network. While dealing with the Health Policies of the successive governments, he presented a worrisome picture of the Assam’s Health Sector and stressed the need to consolidate and expand the broad platform of the movements for ‘Right to Health and Healthcare’.
Dr. Sundararaman, in his speech,  explained the broad contour and character of the JSA which forms the Regional Circle of the World People’s Health Movement. He added, the NHA-3 aims to address the urgent need to defend public health systems and prevent rampant privatisation of public healthcare services. The overarching theme for the NHA-3 would be “The time to make health and healthcare a fundamental right now”,  Sundararaman stated. At the end of the two-day programmes, the assembly shall adopt a People’s Health Manifesto which will be shared with all the political parties and policy makers with the aim of realising health and healthcare as a fundamental right. The NHA-3 at Raipur would be followed by the World People’s Health Assembly at Dhaka from 15 November next, Sundararaman added. The Convention was also addressed by Northeast Coordinator of the JSA, Isfaqur Rahman.
The Convention elected a New State Committee of the JSA in Assam with Dr. Anil Choudhury as President, Dr. Anita Roy Saha as Working President and Rahul Purakayastha as its Secretary. The Committee will be broad-based with the inclusion of individuals and representatives from various organisations working in the field of health and healthcare rights.
A list of around 40 persons was also prepared for participation in the NHA-3 at  Raipur scheduled to be held on  22-23 September next.

A.P. Peoples Health Assembly on 16th September

I am glad to inform you that we are going to hold ‘A.P. Peoples Health Assembly’ on 16th September at Dr. J. Sesha Reddy Vignana Kendram, Nellore. I am sure, many of the seniors here knew Dr. J. Sesha Reddy.
However, for the sake of others, I would briefly introduce Dr. JS,as he is fondly remembered. Dr.JS was one of the founders of Peoples Poly Clinic (PPC), Nellore. He was also one of the founder leaders of Peoples Science Movement and Peoples Health Movement in Andhra Pradesh. He had been a dedicated peoples doctor, passionate health activist and inspiring leader till he breathed his last in June 2008. Since then, we are organising annual seminars in his memory, to highlight contemporary issues in peoples health. This year happens to be the tenth death anniversary year of Dr. JS. Hence, we planned to combine Dr. JS Memorial 10th annual seminar with AP Peoples Health Assembly.
Indranil and Rich accepted our invitation to attend as guests. Gargeya helped in coordinating with them. Gargeya too is supposed to attend, but since he is occupied with NPHA coordination, he expressed his inability to attend.
Indranil will speak on ‘NHPS – Peoples money & Private Profits’ and Rich on ‘JSA-PBI National Campaign on Strengthening Public Provisioning of Healthcare in India’.
As part of Peoples Health Assembly, delegates from across the state will reflect upon the plight of health care services in their respective division/town/village. There is also going to be a discussion on Chronic Kidney Diseases, as there has been a rise in the incidence of CKD in certain areasof AP.
I am also glad to inform you that we are releasing the Telugu translation of ‘Dissenting Diagnosis’ on this occasion.

Countdown begins to National Health Assembly-3

Dear friends,

We are only 10 days away from the third National Health Assembly scheduled in Raipur on 22nd – 23rd September 2018. Nearly 1000 participants from across the country have confirmed their participation.

Most states have given their participation and few are yet to give their confirmations on the arrival dates etc. Kindly send the participation list, arrival, and departure dates and timings. States are requested to provide details on specific requirements if any on differently-abled persons, senior citizens, women in need of childcare, specific dietary requirements. It will help us in arranging logistics. When preparing to come please get extra bedsheet and personal items like soap.

States who want to get state banners and flex, please note that plastic flex is banned in the state. Kindly get the bio-degradable ones.

We have since received updates from various states for their respective state health assemblies. Various state chapters have also done district level mobilisation and also had their state level assemblies. You can find the state reports under State JSAs section. The mobilisation and the state level assemblies have been very vibrant and can be viewed here. The state assemblies of Karnataka is on 16th September and of Tamil Nadu is on 15th September.

The program that has evolved is very exciting  and it can be viewed here.

Hoping to see you all in Raipur.

JSA Rajasthan state meeting

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.

Pondicherry state health assembly

Pondicherry held its Third State Health Assembly on the 30th of August.  It was from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm. Over 150 delegates ( close to 200 in all ) from about 20 organizations participated. The participating organizations included the Puducherry Science Forum, SAMAM , AIDWA, the medical representatives association, the health workers union, the government employees union, the nurses association and a number of NGOs. The conference had a background paper and a charter of demands. The health crisis and public health information of importance was prepared by some of the local resource persons and presented. Most of the organizational representatives spoke. There was also a presentation of various activities, petitions and issues that had been raised by PSF and other organizations in the intervening years.
From outside the UT, the invited resource persons were Mr. Ameer Khan who is the JSA coordinator for Tamilnadu and Mr. Sundar.
The event went off very well and served to re-evoke interest in a platform that had become dormant for some time now.
It also highlighted a number of emerging health problems and issues- especially like in Tamilnadu the huge excess in male mortality in the 15 to 60 age group- ( almost 80% men in this age group) due a number of issues of which Road traffice injuries, suicide, assault, alcohol related deaths and cardiovascualr deaths are all contributing in a major way. RTA seems to be accounting for almost 20% of mortality – all of young men ( 6:1 ratio) and are either due to motor-cycles or pedestrians !!
Many other emerging challenges related to women health were also presented.

25th August event at Dharwad for NHA3 Karnataka

Drug Action Forum – Karnataka and DIKKU (NGO committed to working with gowalis in Dharwad), had an event at Aurobindo School, in Dharwad on Saturday, 25th August.
After a brief discussion on access to medicines, the group discussed about Alma Ata Declaration and subsequently how privatization and globalization have entered into health care system.
The details of event planned at Bangalore on 16th Sept and subsequently in Raipur was also discussed. There was resolutions to take up local issues like improving Civil Hospital and improve public health system.
Copy of the SANJIVEENI was distributed among the participants.
Many young students actively participated in the event.