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

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Promoting Private Healthcare

The Rajasthan government’s Bhama­shah Health Insurance Scheme claims to benefit over 1.10 crore families encompassing around 4.65 crore people in the state through a smart card-based cashless health cover. The state government has allocated Rs 370 crore for this on an annual basis and a memorandum...

Health Insurance, Health Access and Financial Risk Protection

Drawing from the 60th and 68th rounds of National Sample Survey Office, this study evaluates the impact of different (social, commercial and target-oriented) health insurance schemes on access to healthcare use, and cost of care and financing of medical expenses. The results show that though these schemes promote access to healthcare, they also increase the costs manifold. The commercial insurers have not been effective at pooling financial risks and seem to be indulging in maximising individual gain. Given the intrinsic market-failure and information asymmetry between the principal and the agents and difficulties in regulating the insurance-base system, this study advocates financing healthcare through a tax-based system which can be cost-effective for achieving universal healthcare access in India.

Maternal and Child Health

The data from the Rapid Survey on Children conducted in 2013-14, released after an inexplicable delay and still in a summary fashion, show some but patchy progress between 2005-06 and 2013-14 in maternal and child health indicators. A preliminary analysis indicates that in those areas where special efforts were made, such as in increasing institutional delivery and expanding immunisation coverage, some results are seen. This calls for greater investments in health and nutrition within a more comprehensive approach.

The Essential Cancer Drugs

There are no public procurement programmes for cancer on the lines of those that exist for AIDS or tuberculosis. It is worth considering whether it is feasible to institute a drug procurement programme based on international/national competitive bidding or shopping, like those already in place in the National AIDS Control Organisation. If patients in developed countries are finding it difficult to survive the astronomical prices of cancer drugs, a developing country like India, with a large part of its population below the poverty line or among the middle class, is even worse affected in the battle against the disease.

Hand-Washing and Public Health

The importance of hand-washing in personal and public hygiene has evolved over the centuries. While the market with its countless number of soaps and hand-wash products for personal hygiene with the accompanying advertising has created a false sense of security, it is community hygiene implemented through public health measures that is really effective in the battle against disease.

India's Population Programme

As sterilisation scandals abound, a consensus is emerging for a shift away from sterilisation towards a larger "basket" of contraceptive choices and concomitant improvements in service delivery. That such a shift needs to take place is clear, but precisely how it is to come about, and who gets to determine what is in the basket of choices are questions that deserve greater attention. The neo-Malthusian resurgence, combined with the technical fixation on contraception, favours certain methods over others, but health and safety concerns related to these methods are typically downplayed or suppressed.

Nutrition Programmes Face Fund Crunch

At a time, when there is widespread concern about the very high levels of child malnutrition in India, important nutrition programmes may be badly threatened due to budget cuts. The Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi expressed this very serious apprehension on 19 October...

Diphtheria Deaths in Kerala

The diphtheria deaths in Kerala have shown the signs of a public health crisis. If it is not tackled through action and awareness then it may have far-reaching consequences and demean the much-acclaimed Kerala model of health.

Competition to Sell Medicines

The battle between chemists and online pharmacies must be decisively resolved.

Privatising Healthcare in Rajasthan

The Rajasthan government has planned to hand over its public health centres to private operators through a process of bidding. However this will have a debilitating effect on the inadequate and under-resourced public healthcare system in the state.

Balancing Affordability and Availability in a Drug Patent Regime

India needs to find an optimal patenting regime that will safeguard incentives for innovation while simultaneously ensuring that medicines are available at reasonable prices.

Children's Development

The Integrated Child Development Services scheme and maternity entitlements can play a crucial role in improving children's food and nutrition security. Both interventions are part of the National Food Security Act, though maternity entitlements have yet to be activated. Odisha has experimented with several creative policies, including initiating a maternity entitlements scheme in 2011 before the NFSA was enacted, introduction of eggs and decentralised procurement of take-home rations in the ICDS. This article, based on a field study of the two children's schemes in four districts in December 2014, reports how they perform and identifies areas for further action.

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