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Public Good Perspective of Public Health

India’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is linked to its abandonment of the welfare state, marginalisation of public good principle and collapse and fragmentation of the public health system. As COVID-19 cases surge, many states could barely treat patients needing medical support due to bed shortages and poor infrastructural facilities. The overwhelmed system disrupted routine and emergency non-COVID services as well. The interstate differences in coping with COVID-19 are rooted in the public sector health infrastructure, investment in rural services and disease control programmes. A comprehensive healthcare system is needed as COVID-19 is not the end of the problem of the globalisation of epidemics.

Significance of Testing for Identification of COVID-19

The official and media discourse in India often focuses on the cumulative or daily detection of infected cases irrespective of the number of people tested and thus confuses the issue of disease progression. Based on the analysis of the number of infected cases identified and the number of people tested in eight states in India, it is emphasised that identification and quarantine of those who are infected slows down the spread of the disease. Mobilising resources towards the primary healthcare system for expanding contact tracing and investing in additional facilities to quarantine and treat infected patients is suggested.

Interpretations and Implications of Increasing Obesity in India

The National Family Health Survey-3 and 4 data show that in the past 10 years, overweight/obesity among women in terms of Body Mass Index has increased quite sharply. In the Indian context, undernutrition and obesity are not separate problems. A large proportion of overweight/obese women are undernourished, with small stature, food transition towards more fats and increasingly sedentary lifestyles making them vulnerable towards being overweight/obese. More diversified diet reduces the risk of overweight/obesity. It is suggested that adequate and good quality diversified diets need to be ensured for comprehensive energy and nutrient adequacy. This requires an overhaul of India’s food programmes.

Solidarity with Gaza

The world is once again witness to the macabre dance of death in Gaza unleashed by the Israeli aggressors, and once again the news of scores of innocent Palestinian deaths, including those of a number of women and children, is flooding in. The tragedy is compounded many-fold by the conspiracy of...

A Complex Picture of Public Health

Health Care in Bombay Presidency 1896-1930 by Mridula Ramanna (New Delhi: Primus Books), 2012; pp x + 202 (Hb), Rs 795.

Appeal for Court Protection of Soni Sori

LETTERS Issn 0012-9976 Ever since the first issue in 1966, EPW has been India’s premier journal for comment on current affairs and research in the social sciences. It succeeded Economic Weekly (1949-1965), which was launched and shepherded by Sachin Chaudhuri, who was also the founder-editor of EPW...

Medical Tourism in India: Progress or Predicament?

It is estimated that the size of the medical tourism market in the country will be Rs 1,95,000 crore in 2012. Based on a literature review of healthcare business media, policy documents and a few academic papers, this essay looks at the scope for medical tourism in India and situates it within the Asian context. It traces shifts in policy with the growth of a tertiary corporate health sector that is urban-centric, and subject to minimal regulation and monitoring. The State acts primarily as a steward. The essay also examines the implications of medical tourism for general medical care and how such policy shifts distort health systems. This analysis raises questions of accessibility, affordability, and ethics in medical care, and asks if it is sensible to promote medical tourism in a democratic welfare state, with poor public healthcare facilities for the masses.

The Business and Ethics of Surrogacy

The Draft Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill and Rules (2008) intends to regulate an "industry" in India that has been expanding by leaps and bounds, mainly on account of a growing demand by foreign couples in search of relatively cheap surrogacy arrangements. This commentary argues that there has been next to no public debate on the ethical, social and medical questions around infertility and surrogacy in our context, and makes a beginning in this direction. Thanks to pressure from women's groups the draft has now been placed on the web site of the Indian Council of Medical Research for comments.

Whither Public Health

Lattars Whither Public Health A letter doing the rounds in US universities is revealing. It says that the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) of the US has been asked to facilitate the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) – which was launched by the prime minister on March 28 – in...

Nutrition Policy

If food security is a priority, then foodgrains should remain at the head of the agenda for policy, especially if the nutritional problems of the marginalised are to be addressed. Further, the type of diversification of food baskets that is taking place, apart from being restricted to the better-off, is certainly unhealthy.

Women's Health in India

This set of bibliographies have made a valuable contribution by putting together published and unpublished studies on important subjects relating to women’s morbidity, especially so for research scholars who are looking for literature on women’s morbidity.

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