Editors: Leena V. Gangolli, Ravi Duggal and Abhya Shukla
Health policy in India has shifted its focus from being a comprehensive universal healthcare system as defined by the Bhore Committee (1946) to a selective and targeted programme based healthcare policy with the public domain being confined to family planning, immunization, selected disease surveillance and medical education and research.
The larger outpatient care is almost a private health sector monopoly and the hospital sector is increasingly being surrendered to the market. The decline of public investments and expenditures in the health sector since 1992 has further weakened the public health sector thus adversely affecting the poor and other vulnerable sections of society. Introduction of user fees for public health services in many states has further reduced their access to health services.
The time has come to reclaim public health and make a paradigm shift from a policy-based entitlement for healthcare to a rights based entitlement. For this healthcare has to become a political agenda.
The above and related issues have been discussed at great length, with solid evidence and within a historical context in an edited volume published by CEHAT titled “Review of Healthcare in India”. The book includes six sections across 400 pages including critical topics like health policy making in India, public health services in India, communicable diseases, community health programs, population policies, mental health, children's health, reproductive health, Indian systems of medicine, healthcare financing, the private health sector, inequities in healthcare access, availability of drugs, right to healthcare and legal issues and an elaborate statistical appendix covering health status, health infrastructure and personnel and health expenditures.