Wake up call for health care
Gorakhpur tragedy is a reminder that it is time to implement a national health policy focusing on the poor.
The tragic death of more than 70 children in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh this week has brought to the fore the dismal failure of successive governments both at the Centre and in the states to deliver health care to the people who have voted them to power. It is gross negligence, which has resulted in tragedies like what we have witnessed in Gorakhpur and elsewhere. India is perhaps one country where human life does not get the attention it needs if one observes the plight of the patients in various government and even private hospitals. No doubt it is difficult to take care of the needs of 1.25 billion people, but what is worrying is that even the budget allocation continues to be meagre as compared to what it should have been. While the overall health budget had increased from Rs 39,879 crores (1. 9 per cent of the total budget) to Rs 48,878crores (2.2 per cent of the total budget), it needs to be at least doubled if not tripled for improved health care.