private health industry

Health for All

Stronger universal public health services, not privatization, will deliver #HealthForAll

COVID-19 has made us all realize how important are stronger public health services for everyone. Our individual health security is dependent on other people’s health security too – and the same for social security. An article by Shobha Shukla & Bobby Ramakant. When the world has come to a grinding halt due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, and it is majorly the public health services that are on the frontline of the efforts to contain it (with most of the private health industry ‘safe distancing’ by being shut or busy profit-minting), the writing is crystal clear on the wall: only stronger universal public health could be our saviour. Hope World Health Assembly of Health Ministers of countries globally, will echo this strongly. COVID-19 has also proven how any public health emergency can cause havoc to the economy. If we want sustainable and resilient economies, we need stronger public health systems where no-one-is-left-behind. And there is no health security without social security for everyone. But the government’s plan to reboot the economy includes spending INR 8100 crores (INR 81 billion) “to provide 30% viability gap funding (VGF) instead of the current 20% to boost private sector investment in social sector infrastructure creation” like schools and hospitals. It is high time we demand that profiteering from ill-health cannot be tolerated. Healthcare must never be dependent on one’s capacity to pay. ‘Trade must enhance the capacity of nations to provide quality public healthcare and not restrict it’, demanded a #NoGoingBack manifesto endorsed by millions of nurses and workers of the unions around the world. COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to learn the harder way, why what ails one – ails us all. An individual’s health security is interdependent on everyone else and on the planet’s health too. The spread of the coronavirus from the first confirmed case 4.5 months back in China to over 4.7 million cases globally, has brought home the wisdom of the old oft-quoted public health mantra: an infectious disease anywhere is an infectious disease everywhere. But in the brutally unequal and unjust world we live in, we are…