Skip to content

Social mobilisation, the key to equitable health care: Binayak Sen

From The Hindu:

Social mobilisation is going to be an important factor in how the country will be able to leverage developments in the health care sector, Binayak Sen, social activist, has said.

Health care in India is on the brink of several key developments and social mobilisation will indicate how we are able to take this forward. The High Level Expert Group on Universalisation of Healthcare has suggested that the government raise the percentage of GDP spent on health from 1.1 per cent to 2.5 per cent, a substantial increase in funding.

In 1946, the Bohr Committee report which said none should be denied appropriate treatment because of their inability to pay. Over six decades later, this was still not a reality. However, unless ordinary people are able to understand the promises health policies make and are mobilised to demand that they be implemented, the whole thing will become non-functional, Dr. Sen said.

He was delivering the 4 Krishnan Ang TANKER foundation Endowment Lecture on ‘Equity and the Future of Health care in India’. Talking about inequities, Dr. Sen pointed out that large sections of the population were living in unprecedented prosperity while as many sections are caught up in an enormous famine. Adult malnutrition exists alongside with child malnutrition, and low birth weight.

The Food Security Bill pending in Parliament had reneged on all the advancements made via Supreme Court interlocutions (as part of public interest litigation filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties) over the last 10 years, he charged.

Mike Nithavrianakis, British Deputy High Commissioner, presented the La Renon TANKER Foundation for the Sake of Honour Award to Dr. Sen on the occasion. Dr. Sen returned the cheque that came with the award to TANKER to support their work. Mr. Nithavrianakis also presented the Muthoot M. George Memorial TANKER and Kerala Kidney Research Foundation Award to researcher P.V. Lakshmi; the Renny Abraham TANKER Foundation Love for Service Award to senior geriatrician V.S. Natarajan; K. Venkatanarayana TANKER Foundation Awareness Award to Rajalakshmi Ravi of TANKER (who also returned her cash award to the organisation) and Vidya Reddy of Tulir. An award was also given to disabled mimicry artist Senthil, on the occasion.

Georgi Abraham, founder trustee, TANKER and Latha Kumaraswami, managing trustee, TANKER, also spoke.