PRESS RELEASE: JSA demands an end to Vigilantism in the name of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

The Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) expresses deep shock at the murder of Zafar Hussain, a 55 year old social worker of Pratapgarh in Rajasthan. Zafar Hussain was publicly lynched in a frenzy by Municipal employees linked to the government’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (SBA), led according to Press reports by Nagar Parishad Commissioner Ashok Jain.  Zafar Hussain’s only crime was that he objected to the photographing of women defecating in the open. Those being photographed included the victim’s wife and 14 year old daughter. Reports suggest that a massive cover up of the incident is being attempted and the perpetrators are yet to be apprehended.  

On the “Rise of Private Medicine in South Asia

PHM members Amit Sengupta, Indranil Mukhopadyay, Manuj c Weerasinghe and Arjun Karki recently published an article on the privatisation of healthcare services in South Asia. This article was published on 11th April 2017 by British Medical journal.

It reflects on how stagnant public investment in health in South Asia has seen a growth in private practice and may hamper efforts to enable universal health coverage in the region. Read the complete article here

Junior Doctors in Line of fire in Maharshtra

Since the attack on resident doctor Rohan Mhamunkar in Dhule on March 12, there has been a spate of attacks on frontline doctors working in public hospitals across the state of Maharashtra. The government has treated this purely as a law and order problem. What has not been highlighted sufficiently in the public debate so far, is the correlation between understaffed and inadequately resourced public hospitals, and the growing discontent among patients seeking care in these hospitals.

Read this analysis by Abhay Shukla.

Abnormal Rise in Caesarean Sections

The commercialisation of caesarean deliveries, especially in private hospitals, hit the headlines recently following an online petition. It was further highlighted when Women and Child Welfare Minister Maneka Gandhi asked the Ministry of Health to ensure that hospitals make public the number of caesarean births. Figures for C-section deliveries are alarming, putting a question mark on the possible unethical practices prevalent in private hospitals.

Read full article by Chhaya Pachauli.

Use of Pellet Guns Has Caused a Public Health Crisis in Kashmir

In addition to being a violation of human rights, the continued use of pellet guns has meant an incredible amount of pressure on the state’s public health care system and medical professional

“I was returning home after visiting my sister when people told me there was some disturbance on the very road that I had to take… There was a lot of commotion, stones flying around, lots of angry crowds and forces… I was told not to go further. But I had to return. The children were alone at home. I waited for a while. All of a sudden something hit me, I don’t know what. I couldn’t see anything and I cannot describe to you the pain… ”
∼ A 22-year-old woman who was caught in crossfire and hit by pellets, and lost her vision.

Read full article by N.Sarojini.

In budget 2017, Arun Jaitley gave flailing public health programs little hope

At a time when the country is grappling with perilous effects of demonetisation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was expected to be sensitive to the suffering of millions of Indians and enhance the social safety nets in the form of expansion of employment, education, health, food and nutrition. He has, instead, made some nominal increases in the rural sector and offered tax sops to the middle class. This increase in allocation appears mere tokenism when we compare it to price increases and expenditure cutbacks over last few years… Read the full article (Courtesy Scroll.in)

A year of apathy towards public health services

The past year once again provides a clear picture of neglect of public health by the BJP led government and further, a disdain towards policies that promote welfare. The year has seen several outbreaks of infectious diseases such as dengue and chikungunya, often reaching epidemic proportions in many parts of the country. The epidemics have laid bare the inability of the country’s health systems to protect people’s health. Yet successive budgets presented by the BJP government have strengthened the perception that this government is ideologically committed to reducing public expenditure on welfare and public services. The past year has again seen a singular reluctance, on the part of the government, to even spell out a clear approach to health care. The Niti Ayog has played its due role of a neoliberal right-wing think tank by consistently shooting down even mildly progressive proposals that have been put forward by the Ministry of Health….read full article here..