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

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COVID-19: Examining the Impact of Lockdown in India after One Year

One year after its announcement in March 2020, the consequences of India’s strict COVID-19 lockdown measures and ineffective policy responses continue to be felt, be it in terms of livelihood loss and economic downturn or increased marginalisation of vulnerable sections of society.

Budget 2021–22 on Health

The budget speech on 1 February 2021 announced an allocation of over `2.2 lakh crore to health and well-being, at 137% higher compared to BE 2020–21. The Fifteenth Finance Commission emphasised the need for strengthening the COVID-19-ravaged health sector by recommending sector-specific grants. The government did not accept the recommendation and, if we discount the health component in the local government grants, the budget allocation for the sector has increased by hardly 10% compared to the 2019–20 actuals.

Risky Insurance: The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana in Jharkhand

A ground-level survey of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana in Jharkhand reveals that the scheme nudges patients towards the private sector under the guise of free healthcare only for them to incur exorbitant expenditure over the course of treatment.

Public Health Lessons

Odisha, in spite of a poor public health system, did well in managing the pandemic in the initial month. This is on account of three reasons. It drew from its now globally recognised swift disaster preparedness and management aimed at zero casualty. It adopted a proactive, as against reactive, course, which in itself is a difficult proposition in such an uncertain and dynamic scenario. It took lessons from success stories and challenges based on happenings elsewhere.

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.

Higher Disease Burden in India’s Elderly

The disease burden among the elderly population is significantly higher compared to the younger population, according to the data from the 75th round National Sample Survey, 2017–18, which increases their vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic. The footprint of elderly population in public facilities for inpatient and outpatient care has increased over the years. Financially, the elderly face far less burden in public facilities than in private facilities.

Caste Prejudice and Infection

In light of India’s continuing efforts to reduce maternal mortality, why government hospitals continue to be dangerously unhygienic, posing serious infection risks to patients, is explored. Through interviews and observations at public hospitals in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh, we find...

Dementia and the Challenges of Caregiving: A Personal Account

Dementia, an incurable and neurodegenerative brain disease, affects millions of elderly in India, and remains a hidden epidemic. However, little is being done by the government to enable individuals affected by the disease to live with dignity and respect in the society.

Decoding the Million Death Study

The lack of reliable, cause-specific mortality statistics is considered a major obstacle to the improvement of public health in many low- and middle-income countries. Researchers and government officials in India have set up the Million Death Study to address this situation. First, how the study produces quantitative estimates of the burden of mortality in India is explored by collecting symptomatic data, using that data for diagnostic purposes, and aggregating those diagnoses into an overview of mortality in India. Second, the limitations of the perspective on public health based on discrete and specific diseases that result from this approach are addressed. Numbers alone cannot solve the public health issues India faces, rather cognitive justice towards a broader range of perspectives on major public health problems is required to develop effective political interventions.

ASHAs’ Health Services

The intrinsic commitment of the accredited social health activists towards the well-being of the community is unduly exploited by the state in the name of “volunteerism.” It is high time a wholesome definition of work is adopted to understand the inconspicuous contributions made by these front-line healthcare workers, who form a key link in the public health system in India.

AAP’s Health Policy Reforms in Delhi

Against the backdrop of a rapidly expanding privatised healthcare system, the Aam Aadmi Party government’s health policy reforms in Delhi are scrutinised.

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