Health situation of india

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“Concern with human development seems to be moving to centre stage in the 1990s. For too long, the recurrent question was, how much is a nation producing? Increasingly, the question now being asked is, how are its people faring? The main reason for this shift is the growing recognition that the realobjective of development is to enlarge people’s options. Income is only one of those options—and an extremely important one—but it is not the sum total of human life. Health, education, physical environment and freedom—to name a few other human choices—may be just as important as income.” ---Mahbub ul Haq (1995), in Readings in Human Development 1 Policy Evolution

Fight against communicable andpreventable diseases finds mention in the Millennium Development Goals and also in India’s Health Policy (NHP) 1983, New Health Policy 2002 as well as in India Vision 2020 (Mishra, 2004-05)2. The basic objective of NHP 2002 was to achieve an acceptable standard of good health amongst the general population of the country. The policy was widely circulated both at the centre and states upto the districtlevel. Concerned Central Departments, State Government and other organisations are being advised to implement the policy. Government has continued with its commitment to provide essential primary health care, emergency life saving services, services under the National Disease Control Programmes totally free of cost to all individuals and essential health care services to people below poverty linebased on their need and not on their ability to pay for the services. The present Government proposes to raise public spending on health to at least 2-3% of GDP over the next five years with a focus on primary health care under the National Common Minimum Programme.

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The author can be contacted at: Mishra, Srijit (2004-05): Chapter 4: Public Health Scenario inIndia, in India Development Report 2004-05, edited by Kirit Parekh and R Radhkrishna, IGIDR.


International Efforts to Ensure Right to Health • • • ‘Enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health’ has been recognized as a ‘fundamental health’ by the international community since the adoption of the constitution of World Health Organisation in 1946. On December 10, 1948 the GeneralAssembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in order to ensure right to health for everyone. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), in its Article 12, clearly recognizes the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and the creation of conditions, whichwould assure medical attention to all in the event of sickness. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in its twenty second session in Geneva in 2000, in its General Comment No. 14 defines Article 12.1 ‘Right to Health’ as an inclusive right extending not only to timely and appropriate health care but also to the underlying determinants of health, such as access to safe andpotable water and adequate sanitation , an adequate supply of safe food , nutrition and housing , healthy occupational and environmental conditions, and access to health related education and information, including on sexual and reproductive health. The Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979), Article 12 talks of eliminating discrimination against women inenjoyment of the right to protection of health and access to health care including family planning services, safety in working conditions, and safeguarding the function of reproduction. The Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989), Article 24 recognizes the right of the child to the enjoyment of highest attainable standard of health and to the facilities for the treatment of illness and...