Parties urged to include right to health in manifestos

Posted on 18th Mar 2014 05:30 am by admin

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, a non-governmental organisation, Tuesday released a "People's Manifesto on Health" and appealed to all political parties to consider including its elements in their manifestos for the Lok Sabha polls.

The JSA brings together grassroots health activists, civil society organisations and academic institutions from around the world.

It said the right to health was a fundamental and universal right of all citizens which needs to be respected and realised within a time-frame.

The JSA said people across India suffer and die unnecessarily due to poor access to affordable and effective health care and due to a range of social and economic determinants that promote ill-health and disease.

"Approximately 1.83 million children under five years of age die each year in India. This is the highest number anywhere in the world. One-third of all malnourished children live in India," a statement said.

Stating that the cost of health care was a leading cause of poverty, the JSA proposed a set of policy proposals which included 19 points designed to reverse the present situation in the health sector, and to "secure conditions of living and health care services that promote health in all its dimensions".

The points include promotion of food security by universalisation and expansion of the public distribution system (PDS), reversal of caste-based discrimination, increase in the public expenditure on health to 3.6 percent of GDP annually, and a guaranteed comprehensive and accessible quality health services for all women and transgenders.

The JSA has also asked for elimination of corruption in the public health system through transparent policies, access to essential and safe drugs and devices, and the regulation of clinical trials.

"To ensure the fulfilment of the right to health the public health system needs to be much better resourced, expanded and made accountable so that it can provide free and health care services that are comprehensive, of good quality and accessible to all," it said.

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