Activists seek new law granting right to health

Mumbai: Health manifesto’ which was released on Tuesday by the health activists and social workers demanded the state government should introduce a new act granting the right to health for the people.

They also demanded to increase the health budget, strengthen public healthcare services and shortage of medicines in the state and civic-run hospitals.

All these were discuss in a day-long Peoples Health Assembly, organised by the Jan Aarogya Abhiyan, which is the state level platform for civil society organisations and health rights groups.

Dr Abhay Shukla, public health activist and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Co-Convener, said, health manifesto mainly focus the vision of health services to all political parties who should make it a priority in their agendas. Right to Health and to drinking water should be recognised as fundamental rights.

“There should be end to a privatisation of healthcare services and government should implement Clinical Establishment Act and the Patient Rights Charter, which will protect people from exploitation in private hospitals,” he said.

“It is home of most of the country’s dollar billionaires, but also leads the country in terms of maximum number of farmer suicides and malnutrition-related deaths,” he added.

Maharashtra spends only Rs 975 per person per year on public health, as compared to the national average of Rs 1563. Around 17,000 posts are vacant in the public health system.

“There is a huge shortage of essential medicines in public hospitals over the past years. The patients visiting PHCs and rural hospitals are being asked to buy medicines from pharmacies outside,” said another activists.

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