Mother and Child Health – Immunization Program, BPBB, PMJSY, PMMSY, etc.

[op-ed snap] Children of lesser gods


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

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