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Times of India
7 April 2009
Pune,India

Stressing on good health and access to quality healthcare facilities, the Jana Arogya Abhiyan, a network of health and other social organisations, released its comprehensive ‘public health manifesto’ in the city on Tuesday on the occasion of World Health Day.

For a Healthy Tomorrow
For a Healthy Tomorrow
“The Jan Aarogya Abhiyan has included the demand for a comprehensive National Public Health Act in its health manifesto. Without an act that covers both public and private health sectors, healthcare as a human right would remain a dream,” said Anand Grover, Supreme Court advocate and UN special rapporteur on right to health while commenting on the ‘People’s Health Manifesto– 2009’.

All the existing legal provisions which offer legal support to various aspects of human rights of patients on a whole spectrum of issues ranging from reproductive rights to access to essential medicines must be integrated into a comprehensive National Public Health Act for better and consistent implementation, added Grover.

Elaborating the issue further, Anant Phadke, co–convener of Jan Arogya Abhiyan said political parties are unaware as well as unable to identify the gravity of health problems faced by people as well as by public health sector itself. “This will lead to further erosion of the public health system and promote unregulated private health sector. Besides it will further degrade patients’ rights. Absence of regulations will increase the costs which may not only affect poor but also middle class,” said Phadke. “This manifesto is an extension to the effort to lobby for a comprehensive health policy,” he added.

Among other highlights of the manifesto are increase in government expenditure on public health which is at present only 1 per cent of total GDP; ensure increased allocation and proper use of funds for the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM); cut in prices of medicines and price control of all essential medicines and formulation of a National Policy on child health and nutrition, among others.

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