Time to Stop Privatization of Public Health

for the sake of privatization.

One such case of Khwahish Warsi — a daily wage earner from Barabanki village (makes his living by selling ‘dholaks’ — the Indian percussion instrument) was witnessed in November 2019, who met with a major accident with fracture of both his legs.


He was denied trauma care at the King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow, India due to a heavy rush for 2 days, following which he was ‘advised’ to seek treatment in a private hospital at a cost over Rs. 1.1 Lakhs. However, the expense was later managed by a charitable source after a long struggle.

Another case of a 72 years old patient was shared by Health activist Rahul Dwivedi in January 2020. The patient was referred to government-run tertiary-care hospital KGMU by government-run Bahraich District Hospital (in UP, India) for urgent dialysis and specialized care.

However, with minimal expenditures in hand and constant struggles against denied care, the patient returned to his village with no life-saving treatment or care.

Struggles among Healthcare

This not only adds to the poor health among the public but also raises concerns regarding the marginalized health policies and healthcare access in our country. In addition, the per capita expenditure of the Indian government on healthcare is regarded as the lowest in the world (and in the South Asian region).

Amidst the constant struggles for better health, the NITI Aayog has conversely planned for handing over the district government hospitals to private players, with the claim of “international best practices” for the public-private participation schemes.

Need for Stronger Health Policy

It is believed that in countries like India where health security is side-lined, stronger public health systems, and not private would help foster better healthcare.

A minimum of 4-5% of their GDP is recommended for optimal healthcare by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Some of the financial constraints and factors that might be responsible for plaguing the healthcare in India and are understaffed clinics, inadequate facilities, and overworked & poorly performing personnel.

Although India has promised to deliver universal health coverage (UHC) where “no one is left behind” in its National Health Policy of 2017 and UN Sustainable Development Goals, privatization of public health may push the goal backward.

Hence, a stronger government’s commitment to a well-funded public health system is the sole driving factor for the economy’s health care and equity (minimizes bias) to everyone belonging to low economic status.

Health is not an industry, rather the right to the health needs to take primacy over trade. This emphasizes the need for strengthening the public health services and consequently stops privatization.

Source: Medindia

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