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.

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