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

Articles By Healthcare in India

Hospital Network and Healthcare Access

The strategies for eliminating financial barriers to medical care work well in an equitably distributed healthcare system. The paper suggests that where healthcare facilities are equally distributed, the benefits of insurance are better utilised. But, more importantly, a good public health system in itself is sufficient to promote equitable access to healthcare. Further, insurance does little to encourage and redirect private healthcare providers to cover the critical gap in the health facilities. The private hospital care providers are located more in areas where (public and/or private) facilities are already concentrated.

State and Health Markets in the Time of Pandemic

This paper attempts to explain three broad trends that underpinned the relationship between the state, market, and healthcare: first, the state is moving away from its health provider role to a regulator role, which involves shifting the resources, authority, and responsibility to diverse public and private actors. Second, in the name of the pandemic, the state has opened up fresh frontiers of privatisation and corporatisation of healthcare, extending to non-metropolitan cities and small towns. Third, the above two processes would lead to further exclusion of lower castes, classes, and genders from access to healthcare, spiralling health inequalities.

Delhi’s Mohalla Clinics Hold the Potential to Significantly Improve Access to Quality Healthcare

In 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government introduced “Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics” to provide affordable basic healthcare to marginalised sections of society at their “doorsteps.” This paper evaluates the effectiveness of the programme based on a survey of 493 respondents. We found that while AAMCs partially meet their stated objectives, several areas need urgent attention including lack of information about clinics, casteism by doctors and property owners, and availability of services. 

Policy Complementarities in Achieving Universal Immunisation Coverage in India

The role of two policy pillars in achieving immunisation coverage of essential vaccines in India is examined by assessing the funds disbursed by the centre to the state governments under the Universal Immunisation Programme and the available physical health infrastructure in the states. It is found that funds by themselves are ineffective in improving vaccination coverage but are effective in conjunction with the available infrastructure. This finding has important implications for achieving full immunisation coverage, which stems from the sharing of responsibilities between the central and state governments under India’s federalised system of government.

Estimates of Health Insurance Coverage in India

Financing health expenditure through health insurance is currently gaining significance as a strong social policy in countries like India where public health facilities are still inadequate. An attempt to estimate the coverage of health insurance in India shows that the coverage is low and not uniform across states and union territories, despite the fact that several public-funded schemes focus on the below poverty line population. Of the various types of health insurance schemes, public-funded health insurance schemes have a dominant position. Moreover, the likelihood of health insurance coverage is relatively higher among specific social groups and in certain areas.

Invest More in Public Healthcare Facilities

Data from National Sample Surveys (71st round, 2014 and 75th round, 2017–18) show that there is a significant increase in the utilisation of public facilities for both outpatient and inpatient services, across empowered action group states and non-EAG states. As a result, there is a dramatic fall in the overall financial burden on patients who would have otherwise used services of private healthcare providers. In light of this evidence, this paper argues that it is prudent to invest more directly to strengthen public healthcare delivery system in India.

Impact of Natural Background Radiation on Health

High natural background radiation is a constant presence in the lives of those inhabiting some coastal regions of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. While there is agreement about the existence of radiation, some studies claim that it has no impact on the health of the population, while others disagree. There is a need to examine these findings critically, because of implications for public health, and to understand some of the technical reasons for why some papers appear to find no support for evidence (lack of statistical significance) of impact on health due to high levels of background radiation.

Emerging Governmentality and Biopolitics of COVID-19 in India

Measures like disciplining and quarantining are associated with the governments’ extraordinary powers during unprecedented times. In this context, the biopolitics of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is discussed. When the steps taken by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus are failing, we need new imageries to tackle the challenges that lie ahead of us.