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

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National Health Accounts Estimates

The National Health Accounts is a global tool that provides a snapshot of the flow of funds in a country’s health system by financing sources, providers of healthcare and healthcare functions. The Indian government’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released the NHA estimates for 2013–14 in August 2016 providing details of these expenditures by health financing schemes, providers and functions. This article comments on some of the major advances and gaps in the latest NHA estimation methodology and in the presentation of results.

Aspiring for Universal Health Coverage through Private Care

The National Health Policy 2017 makes a case for expanding private sector participation through collaboration. The policy offers little assurance of providing integrated and universal healthcare.

Health Payments and Household Well-being

Health policy pronouncements in India currently advocate insurance-based financing mechanisms towards universal health coverage, sidelining the role of comprehensive healthcare provisioning through the public sector. This study, however, suggests that health insurance has been unsuccessful in protecting households from poverty and impoverishment resulting from out-of-pocket payments, and that insurance in fact subverts the effectiveness of the traditional health financing system. Free or low-cost healthcare provisioning by the state remains the best way to enhance the health and well-being of households, provided the inadequacies and inequalities across districts are addressed, and low-cost medicines and diagnostics made available to all.

Employees’ State Insurance Scheme for Domestic Workers

The recent move of the government to extend the Employees’ State Insurance Scheme for domestic workers clearly shows the callousness of the initiative and the non-committal approach of the state to the concerns of domestic workers. For the first time, a discriminatory approach within the ESI scheme to a specific category of workers is noticeable.

Hospital Pharmacies

Patients are being forced to buy high-priced drugs and medical devices from hospital pharmacies. With hospitals increasingly operating as for-profit businesses, these pharmacies are an important revenue source for hospitals. In essence, the in-house pharmacy is a spatial monopoly within the premises of the hospital with the patients obliged to buy from it at prices dictated by the management.

Bihar’s Burden of Child Stunting

The prevalence of child stunting in Bihar is as high as 48%. This study of the immediate and underlying causes of stunting reveals that only 15 of Bihar’s 38 districts are on course to reach the global target of 40% reduction in child stunting by 2025, with some districts likely to take over 25 years to reach the target. The data disaggregation at the district level presented here can help district managers use publicly available data to design and strengthen nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programmes to lower the incidence of stunting.

Equity in Oral Healthcare in India

Oral health is a critical but overlooked component of overall health and well-being. Although there have been impressive advances in both dental technology and in our scientific understanding of oral diseases, significant disparities in both the prevalence of dental disease and access to dental...

Healthcare Consumption in Uttar Pradesh

C S Verma ( verma.cs@gmail.com ) is a senior fellow and Shivani Singh ( ssshivani15@gmail.com ) is a research associate at the Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow. Alok Ranjan (alokranjancmc@ gmail.com) is a junior research fellow at the Indian Council of Medical Research and T Sundararaman ( sundar2016@gmail.com ) teaches at the School of Health Systems Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

Determinants of Child Malnutrition in Tribal Areas of Madhya Pradesh

A research study conducted in three tribal districts— Alirajpur, Barwani and Khandwa—of Madhya Pradesh, based on a sample of 294 women with their last child in the age-group of six months–five years analyses the status and determinants of malnutrition and child death. Despite certain infant and...

Targeting and Effects of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana on Access to Care and Financial Protection

This article provides evidence on the impact of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana on access to healthcare and financial risk protection; its coverage across selected states and whether the targeting is effective. Overall, just about 11% of households were enrolled and almost half of these households actually belonged to the non-poor category. Although the scheme has increased hospitalisation rate, we do not know if it has enabled people to access the “genuinely needed” inpatient care which they could not afford earlier or whether hospitals are inducing the demand by suggesting unnecessary inpatient care to the people. Disturbingly, it has hardly had any effects on financial protection. These evidences unequivocally indicate that targeted health insurance coupled with a healthcare delivery system dominated by private providers cannot be the means to achieve universal healthcare.

Surrogacy and the Laws on Maternity Benefits

Five high courts across India have uniformly held that women employees who have children through surrogacy would be entitled to maternity benefits in accordance with the rules. How they have arrived at this conclusion is quite different in each case, and each judgment presents different approaches to address this legal question. Beyond the legal question, the approaches must also be closely examined for class biases and paternalistic assumptions about motherhood.

Reducing Suicides

Prevalence of suicide in India is a public health issue and must be addressed as one.

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