Report of the All India Delegates Meet on Campaign for Universal Health Care
On 7th April, 2017, World Health Day, An 'All India Delegates Meet on Campaign for Universal Health Care' was convened by Shramajibi Swasthya Udyog on behalf of 'All Bengal Health for All Campaign Committee' at West Bengal Voluntary Health Association Tower.
152 delegates from 39 organisations spread over almost all districts of West Bengal and from the states of New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Tripura took part in the meet. Amal Roy of Jalpaiguri Welfare Organisation, Shyamal Ghosh of Barasat Citizens' Forum, Bankim Datta of Naihati Institute of Science & Culture, Drs. Amitabha Chakraborti and Siddhartha Gupta both of Shramajibi Swasthya Udyog were in the presidium. Drs. Punyabrata Gun, Sujoy Bala, Soumya Kanti Bag, Mrinmoy Bera and Kushal Sen were in the steering committee of the meet.
Dr. Sujoy Bala initiated the first session by placing a draft proposal in English. Dr. Mrinmoy Bera read the draft proposal in Bengali. A book containing the speeches delivered in Januray 24, 2016 Public Convention on Health for All was published next by Guruchandali. 'All Bengal Health for All Campaign Committee' convenor Dr. Punyabrata Gun described the concept of Universal Health Care, the Alma-Ata declaration, the recommendations of the High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage and the actions of subsequent governments. He also described the campaign for Health Right in West Bengal from 2013 till date.
Dr. Amitabha Chakraborti placed a critique of the National Health Policy 2017. Dr. Siddhartha Gupta spoke on the recent Clinical Establishment Act of West Bengal. Dr. Rezaul Karim of West Bengal Doctors' Forum expressed solidarity with the campaign.
In the post-lunch second session, Dr. Nitin Jadav of SATHI Pune, Dr. Ashwini Ranjan from AIIMS, Ajay Modak from New Delhi, Satyendra Pal from Tripura and Satya Sivaraman from Tamil Nadu spoke in favour of Universal Health Care. The next speaker was Dr. Manish Mukul Ghosh, who called for nationalisation of the private medical colleges.
The speakers from different regions of West Bengal were Barun Saha of Bharatiya Bijnan o Yuktibadi Samiti, Tulsi Dhar of Jalpaiguri Welfare Organisation, Gautam Chakraborty of Siliguri Welfare Organisation, Shyamal Ghosh of Barasat Citizens' Forum, Dr. Subhajit Bhattacharya of Dr. Bhaskar Rao Janaswasthya Committee, Ashish Dasgupta of IFTU, Ratul Banerjee of Krantikari Naujawan Sangh, Sukhendu Sarkar of Sivnath Sastri College Ganaswasthya Udyog.
Dr. Gun on behalf of the steering committee placed the draft proposal with certain modifications. And it was accepted by the participants.
An All-India 'Health for All Campaign Committee' has been formed with Dr. Punyabrata Gun and Satya Sivaraman as joint convenors. The first public meeting convened by the newly formed committee will be held at AIIMS in mid-May. 5 zonal campaign committees consisting of several states were planned—East, West, North, South and Central, persons have been given responsibility to organise. West Bengal districts have been divided into six zones for campaign purpose. A bulletin on Universal Health Care has been planned with Satya Sivaraman as editor and Dr. Siddhartha Gupta as assistant editor.
The meet ended in high spirit to take forward the campaign.