Oxfam India releases Inequality Report 2021, lauds Chhattisgarh govt for healthcare initiatives

Raipur: Human Rights Defender organization Oxfam India published its Inequality Report 2021: India’s Unequal Health Story on Tuesday and said, Reduced health budget allocations in 2021 disproportionately affected marginalized groups across India.

Growing socio-economic inequalities in India are disproportionately affecting health outcomes of marginalized groups due to the absence of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the press release said.

Data shows that 65.7 percent of the households belonging to the general category have access to improved, non-shared sanitation facilities while only 25.9 percent Scheduled Tribes (ST) households have improved, non-shared sanitation facilities. 12.6 percent more children are stunted in Scheduled Castes (SC) households than those in households belonging to the general category. And the chances of a child dying before his fifth birthday is three times higher for the bottom 20 percent of the population as compared to the top 20 percent.

The report shows the general category performs better than SCs and STs; Hindus perform better than Muslims; the rich perform better than the poor; men are better off than women; and the urban population is better off than the rural population on various health indicators. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these inequalities.

Hindu households are performing better than Muslim households, especially on indicators of access to healthcare. Institutional births and access to food supplements under ICDS are 10 percent less for Muslim households as compared to Hindu households; 8 percent less children are immunized in Muslim households, the release said.

The release also appreciated the initiatives taken by Chhattisgarh government and said, Chhattisgarh ranked 4th in per capita expenditure on health in India, which is a great thing, but as per the NFHS- 4 Higher deaths in children under the age of 1 compared to the nation’s average (41) is an issue of concern as Chhattisgarh is at 54.

Under 5 Mortality Rate is very high in Chhattisgarh (64) , while India is at lower (50).

Regional Director Oxfam India Anand Shukla said, Chhattisgarh government has initiated great programs like Godhan Nyaya Yojana, by supporting rural communities falling under the poorest 25% of the population, such initiatives need to be started for the forest-based Adivasi communities, which are the most marginalized and excluded.

Heavy industries are not percolating profits to the poorest local communities. Chhattisgarh government should consider all these aspects while considering long term development goals, he said.

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