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Rajasthan Right to Health Act

Context:

Recently the Rajasthan government passed the Right to Health act that gathered significant opposition from the doctors of the state.

Relevance:

GS-II: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Rajasthan Right to Health Act, 2022:
  2. Reason for the protest:
  3. What is Right to Health?
  4. Health for All
  5. Status of Health in India
  6. Conclusion

Rajasthan Right to Health Act, 2022:

  • The Rajasthan Right to Health Act, 2022, addresses key issues of access and affordability.
  • It seeks to provide protection and fulfilment of rights, equity in relation to health and well-being for achieving the goal of health care for all through guaranteed access to quality health care for all residents of the State.
  • It provides relief against any catastrophic out-of-pocket expenditure.
  • The law, also provides for a social audit and grievance redress, gives every resident of the State the right to emergency treatment.
    • Private health-care institutions would be compensated for the charges incurred for such treatment.

Reason for the protest:        

  • Unprecedented protest by the doctors of the state against the Right to Health Act that was passed in Rajasthan last week.
  • They said that they were distrustful of the government’s promise of recompense for expenses incurred for treating patients during an emergency.
  • The protesting doctors also claimed to be apprehensive of the government’s interference in their functioning once the law is enforced.
  • To the charge that there is no detailing of the process, health right activists have pointed out that it would be a function of the Rules, not the law itself.

What is Right to Health?

  • Right to Health is that no person seeking health care should be denied it, on the grounds of access and affordability, is an acceptable proviso.
  • The Right to Health is in sync with the constitutional guarantee of right to life, and other components of the Directive Principles.
  • Fundamental Rights: Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees a fundamental right to life & personal liberty. The right to health is inherent to a life with dignity.
  • Fundamental Rights: Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees a fundamental right to life & personal liberty. The right to health is inherent to a life with dignity.
  • DPSP: Part IV of the Constitution under the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) ensures social and economic justice to its citizens. Therefore, Part IV of the Constitution directly or indirectly relates to public policy in terms of health.
    • Articles 38, 39, 42, 43, & 47 put the obligation on the state in order to ensure the effective realization of the right to health.
  • International Conventions: India is a signatory of the Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) by the United Nations that grants the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being to humans including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.

Health for All

  • A healthy productive population is an enabler for sustainable development and hence it is critical that the Government remains committed to improve public health delivery, reduce health inequities and ensure affordable health care for all.
  • Though India has made substantial progress, there are areas which require policy interventions to attain the goals of accessible, affordable and quality health care.

Status of Health in India:

  • Health expenditure:
    • General Government expenditure on health as percentage of GDP in 2019-20 was 1.6% (up from 1.5% in 2018-19.
    • Out-of-Pocket Expenditure (OOPE) as a percentage of Current Health Expenditure fell down to 58.7% in 2016-17 from 60.6% in 2015-16.
    • Population with health insurance coverage: About 14% of the rural population and 19% of the urban population had health expenditure coverage.
    • Source of hospitalisation expenditure: Rural households primarily depended on their ‘household income/savings’ (80%) and on ‘borrowings’ (13%) for financing expenditure on hospitalisation. The figure is 84% and 9% respectively for Urban households.
  • Life Expectancy: As per the 2019 Human Development Report released by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), between 1990 and 2018, life expectancy at birth increased by 11.6 years in India.
  • Child Health: As per estimates developed by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation:
    • Under-five mortality rate (U5MR) (deaths of children less than 5 years per 1,000 live births) has declined from 126 in 1990 to 34 in 2019, with a Annual rate of reduction (ARR) of 4.5 per cent in the time period 1990-2019.
    • Infant mortality rate (deaths of children less than 1 year per 1,000 live births) has declined from 89 in 1990 to 28 in 2019. o Neonatal mortality rate (deaths of children within a month per 1,000 live births) has declined from 57 in 1990 to 22 in 2019.
  • Status of Immunisation among children aged 0-5 years:
    • About 97% of children across the country received at least one vaccination — mostly BCG and/or the first dose of Oral Polio Vaccine at birth, but two out of five children (40%) do not complete their immunisation programme.
    • Among States, Manipur (75%), Andhra Pradesh (73.6%) and Mizoram (73.4%) recorded the highest rates of full immunisation.
    • In Nagaland, only 12% of children received all vaccinations, followed by Puducherry (34%) and Tripura (39.6%).
  • Maternal Health:
    • Institutional deliveries: In rural areas, about 90% childbirths were institutional (in Government/private hospitals) and in urban areas it was about 96%.
    • Pre and Post Natal Care: Among women in the age-group 15-49 years, about 97% of women took pre-natal care and about 88% of women took post-natal care.
    • Maternal Mortality Rate (proportion of maternal deaths per 1,00,000 live births reported) of India has declined from 130 in 2014-2016 to 122 in 2015-17.
  • Profile of ailments: About 31% of the hospitalised cases had infectious diseases followed by injuries (around 11%), cardio-vascular (around 10%) and gastro-intestinal (around 9%).

Conclusion:

Having transformed a progressive ideal into law, Rajasthan should now strive to gain the trust of the doctors through demonstrable action. It is also incumbent upon the doctors to rise above the differences, and work with the government to save human lives.

-Source: The Hindu 

 


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