From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much.
Mains level : Paper 2- Health.
The deaths of nearly 200 children in Kota, from largely preventable diseases, lays bare the condition of the healthcare system in India.
Where does India stand?
- According to UNICEF’s ‘State of World’s Children 2019’ report, India reported the maximum number of deaths of children under five in the world in 2018.
- 8,82,000 children under five died that year.
- That means around 2,416 deaths per day.
- The death of children due to largely-preventable illnesses is a matter of serious concern and calls for urgent introspection.
Factors that govern child health
- Most of the children who died in Gorakhpur, Muzaffarpur and Kota belong to the lowest strata of the society.
- It won’t be wrong to conclude that they were victims of structural violence.
- This structural violence is unleashed through a multitude of social, political and economic factors apathy of healthcare professionals, poor health services/infrastructure
- And low rates of female literacy, economic inequality, the rigid caste system, social apartheid, lack of political will and patriarchy play role.
- As a society, we have stopped looking at the deaths of our citizens through the prism of compassion and concern.
- Structural violence influences the nature and distribution of extreme suffering.
What is being done in the wrong way?
- The government is considering the takeover of 750 district hospitals by private medical colleges through a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
- This, despite ample evidence about the failure of the model in the country’s healthcare system.
- Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow demonstrated that profit and private involvement in healthcare lead to an erosion of trust.
- An Individual’s demand for medical services is irregular and unpredictable, the involvement of a private market model for such services can be disastrous.
- The U.S.’s experiences in the PPP model in healthcare have shone a light on the deficits in transparency and highlighted the lack of care of vulnerable groups.
- What urgently a sincere engagement by the state in matters concerning peoples’ health.
- We need to question the government’s priorities in a country where nearly a million children die every year