The Issue

Access to Quality Health is a Fundamental Human Right

However, in India ...

Access to health is still a big problem

Millions of people continue to suffer in silence from diseases that can be prevented – only because they do not have the opportunities to protect themselves. According to the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health,  an average villager has to travel for at least 2 kms to get a tablet of paracetmol, over 6 kms for a blood test and 20 kms for hospital care.

Services that are available remain unutilised

Even where services are available, the uptake is low due to multiple factors. Poor infrastructure, unreliability of finding the health provider, costs of transport and wages forgone continue to make it cheaper for many people to obtain treatment from quacks.

Women suffer the maximum

For women, the option of accessing quality health care services is non-existent. A large percentage  of women continue to live in male dominated societies, where an interplay of multipe social, cultural  and economic factors push them to the bottom of the social hierachy. This, accompanied with a lack of family support reinforces their sense of “low worth” and health beceomes as an absolute low priority. For most women, motherhood, mostly, comes at an early age, compounding their problems.

Maternal mortality is high

More women die in India due to pregnancy related causes than anywhere in the world. Uptake of antenatal care services and skilled delivery care remain low. According to recent surveys, about 59 per cent of women have had no postnatal check up at all. Non skilled birth attendants continue to conduct 1/3rd of all births and only 39 per cent births take place in health facilities. 70% of pregnant women continue to suffer from iron deficiency. Hemorrhage and sepsis contribute to almost all of the maternal deaths. Level of contraceptive use has been low and permanent methods of sterlisation which are not very effective in spacing between deliveries continue to dominate.

Child mortality is high

More than 20 per cent of child deaths in the world take place in India. 1.83 million children die annually before completing their fifth birthday – simply because they and their caregivers lack the basic conditions needed for young children to survive.