A State-level People’s Health Assembly was conducted Sunday which was organized by the Jana Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), part of the Global Health Assembly. Speakers at the meeting stressed the need for a comprehensive health policy which will guarantee healthcare for all. “Despite spending crores through scheme based preventive and curative programs, the Government’s focus on strengthening primary health services is still not adequate,” said joint convener of Jana Swasthya Abhiyan, India, Amit Sengupta. He further added, “Shortage of health workers and services, particularly in rural areas, continues to have its negative impact. Communicable diseases like TB, HIV, HCV and malaria continue to be a leading cause of morbidity and mortality even as non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases etc. in both urban and rural areas are on the rise.”
“Lack of enforcement of the Clinical Establishment Act, shortage of specialists doctors in Government hospitals and non-availability of free medicines have been the major area of concern as far as basic health services are concerned,” stated convener of Odisha Chapter of JSA Gouranga Mahapatra. While speaking at the inaugural session, health rights activist Bijayalakshmi Routray highlighted the discrepancies in the primary health services like improper diagnostics, lack of care for the newborns, private practices of Government doctors and shortage of medicines. She alleged that though the Government has with good intention started the Rashtriya Swashtya Bima Yojana, the Biju Krushaka Kalyan Yojana, and the Biju Swashthya Bima Yojana, but there are evidences that a major chunk of money goes to the corporate hospitals and insurance companies.
Executive director of Odisha Voluntary Health Association (OVHA) Ajay Tripathy spoke on ensuring basic entitlements of people and urged the Government to give more emphasis on providing clean drinking water, besides ensuring health and hygiene in the Government hospitals. The JSA is in process of preparing a status paper on state of healthcare in Odisha to be presented in the National People’s Health Assembly to be held in Raipur, Chhattisgarh on September 22 and 23 and the Global Health Assembly scheduled for November 15 in Dhaka. – Daily Pioneer