Health is the basic right of every human being

India will become a true Republic the day its citizens are in good health

New Delhi, January 27, 2018 : As India celebrated its 69th Republic Day, it is time to revisit some points enshrined in the Constitution of our country and those mentioned in the Directive Principles of State Policy. Although the Right to Health is not included as an explicit fundamental right in the Indian Constitution, most provisions related to health are in Part-IV of the Directive Principles.

Article 38 says that the state will secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people. Providing affordable healthcare is one of the ways to promote welfare. Apart from this, Article 47 makes it the duty of the state to improve public health. However, despite all these years, the challenge of translating into reality, the vision of accessible, affordable and equitable health care for all, remains.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate PastNational President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Both quality and affordability need to be balanced, especially in a country like ours, which has one of the highest out of expenditures on health in the world. Every hospital or health care establishment must try to improve and maximize quality within the resources that are available to them and with the best use of those resources. Poor quality service indicates poor utilization of resources. Public spending on health should increase in keeping with the country’s improved economic status. It is also important to revitalize India’s public health systems, which have been systematically under-funded and neglected over the past decades. Apart from this, there is also a need to focus on the social determinants of health with renewed emphasis on the provision of clean water, sanitation, nutrition, housing, education and employment.”

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The right to health is a natural corollary of the right to life and, therefore, denying someone healthcare is like denying a living human being the right to live out their natural life span.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “It is imperative that health professionals, animal health care professionals, environmentalists, and agriculture professionals pledge to work collaboratively and develop solutions to various problems, which are increasing with each passing year – more so, because everything concerns health in some way, the health of Indian citizens.”

While the government subscribes to many ideals and has evolved numerous schemes to put them into action, their implementation leaves much to be desired. The failure of implementation mandates urgent mechanisms for institutional correction of processes and systems to deliver effective health care.

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