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IMA-K releases health manifesto; seeks affordable universal healthcare

Asserting that health ought to be treated as an important election issue, the State unit of Indian Medical Association (IMA) has come out with a “health manifesto” pointing out the gaps in the healthcare sector and the measures to be taken to bridge them to ensure equal healthcare for all.

IMA State president Srinivas S. told The Hindu that health of the nation deserves to be an important election issue and IMA is striving to streamline its concerns into a Health Manifesto. “IMA wants to work with the government to achieve affordable universal healthcare for everyone,” he said.

Emphasis on ‘purity’, safety
Topping the list of priorities in the manifesto is a demand that the “purity” of modern medicine should be maintained. “Every system of medicine has its profile and history. Integrative medicine is a threat to patient care and safety. It is a health catastrophe waiting to happen. A cafeteria approach with the patients having the right to choose is the only acceptable solution,” the manifesto maintained.

Pointing out that 23 State hospital protection laws have not brought solace to doctors against violence, the manifesto stated that a deterrent central law incorporating the amendments of Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, including all forms of violence against doctors and hospitals, should be brought in.

While demanding exemption for small and medium hospitals up to 50 beds and clinics from The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, the manifesto has appealed to the parties to do away with GST on health as it is a taxation on illness. Also, criminal prosecution of doctors should be abolished as there is no criminal intent in any treatment procedure. The onus of protection of the girl child in the womb lies with the governments. The harassment meted out in the name of PC-PNDT Act should stop,” the manifesto stated.

Universal healthcare
Demanding that universal healthcare should be an entitled provision in the basic health package of every citizen, the manifesto stated that the government should not only provide appropriate medical care but also address all the health determinants, including drinking water and sanitation.

“Despite numerous policy announcements prioritising health, the governments at the Centre and State levels have historically underfunded the public health sector, resulting in rising inequity in access to healthcare. The IMA demands that the minimum allocation for health, which at present varies from 1.1 to 1.6% of GDP, one of the lowest in the world, should be increased to 2.5%,” the manifesto added. The Hindu

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