The Resident Doctors Association, the Students Union and the Society for Young Scientists at AIIMS organized a convention on 'Health for All' at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The convention began with RDA office bearer Dr Ajay Verma listing out the challenges in achieving the objective of 'Health for All' in the country and how this convention seeks to address these challenges.
The convention was addressed by Dr Mohan Rao. Prof at Center for Social Medicine and Community Health. He spoke on Primary Health Care and the Road to Alma Ata. Dr K S Reddy, Chair of the High Level Expert Group on 'Universal Health Care' that was constituted and later disowned by the erstwhile UPA government. Dr Reddy spoke on the 'Universal Health Care' and the 'Recommendations of HLEG'. Dr Punyabrata Gun, known health activist from West Bengal and formerly associated with the 'Shaheed Hospital' in Chhattisgarh, elaborated on the movement for 'Universal Health Care' carried out in all the districts of West Bengal. Dr Sujoy Bala, President Shramjibi Swasthya Udyog, West Bengal, spoke on 'Universal Health Care: Experiences of other countries and increasing violence against doctors in public hospitals across India.
Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, President of the Resident Doctors Association, AIIMS spoke on the role of young doctors and the difficulties faced by them in serving the people, especially in the remote and rural areas of the country. Students Union representative Dev Desai dwelt on the dilemmas faced by a medical students in making a conscious choice for their future career and also emphasized on the need for young doctors to serve the underprivileged sections of society. The Chairperson of the Society for Young Scientists, Vishal Sahu spoke on the critical state of research in the country, especially in basic sciences and the lack of jobs for young scientists. He emphasized that the objective of 'Health Care for All' cannot be accomplished if the basic sciences continue to be deprived of funds for research.
Dr Vikas Bajpai, assistant professor at CSMCH, JNU narrated his experiences from the field to highlight the difficulties that need to be overcome in order to make 'Health for All' a reality. He brought forth the experiences of the past efforts that had been made by progressive doctors, scientists and medical students in opposing various anti-people measures that were sought to be implemented by the ruling classes.
Dr Pratap Sharan, professor in the department of psychiatry at AIIMS delivered the last address of the convention in which he spoke on how the 'user charges' levied in health facilities had made health care either inaccessible for overwhelming number of people in the country, or they could access this care only at huge cost which pushed them into poverty. It was regrettable, he said, that the governments in India have persisted with levying user charges despite the fact that the World Bank, which had been instrumental in forcing many countries to implement user charges in the delivery of health services, is itself now opposing this policy.
The meeting ended with the adoption of the resolution that was read out by Dr Ashwani who also thanked the gathering for making this convention a grand success