ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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International Advisers to the Bhore Committee

Perceptions and Visions for Healthcare

The Bhore Committee constituted by the colonial government in 1943 to address the needs of healthcare in India was assisted a year later by a group of international advisers. These advisers, coming from an eclectic and divergent background, shared the view that universal and free access to medical care was imperative and that this was an essential political right of the people of India.

Support by a grant from the Wellcome Trust “096493/Z/11/Z -Turning the Pages” is acknowledged.

Western cosmopolitan medicine became a part of medical services of India from the early 19th century but its reach expanded sluggishly. While the benefits from investments in healthcare in Britain were evident, the lack of investments in India had obvious consequences. Life expectancy in India was 15 years, lower than in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1871 and the gap increased further to 40 years by 1951.1 The slow and irregular transfer of healthcare technology and lack of policy in India was often commented upon.2 A series of exposures of the shoddy nature of social progress and healthcare in India3 – various small pox and plague commissions – gave rise to some strident debates in the legislative assembly.4


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