Posts Tagged ‘Public Health
Civil society groups, academics and human rights activists have come together and appealed to the Chhattisgarh High Court to reverse the “injustice” meted out to human rights activist Binayak Sen.
In an appeal sent to the Chief Justice of the High Court, they said that if this was not ensured, India’s already dented credentials as a democracy and an upholder of human rights would be irreversibly damaged.
“While hearing the appeal for bail and reversal of the judgment of the Raipur sessions court, we urge the Chhattisgarh High Court to consider this case in the light of the complete lack of concrete and independent evidence against Dr. Sen, and his demonstrated commitment to promote human rights through non-violent means. It would be highly desirable to ensure speediest possible hearings in this case, enabling an early decision,” the appeal said. It expressed confidence that given the entire background, timely justice would be done.
The appeal was issued at the end of the annual meeting of the Medico Friend Circle held in Nagpur.
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From Spirit of 1848 Listserve
Lancet India series “Towards Universal Health Care” was launched in Delhi yesterday. Dr Binayak’s contribution is in it. He was supposed to be on the panel. An empty chair with his name was kept. I attached the poster in front which has pictures of Mandela, Suu Kyi & Binayak. Richard Norton editor Lancet talked about Binayak in his opening address & so did Dr. Srinath Reddy Chair Public Health Foundation & also chair High Level Expert committee on Universal Coverage of Health Care formed by the PM. On 15th the Artists for human Rights are protesting musically & on 30th Jan Mahatama Gandhi’s Matyrdom day protests for Binayak will be held all over the country & outside. Binayak’s case comes up in Bilaspur High Court in Chhattisgarh on 24th Jan Ilina Dr. Binayak’s wife had come to the MFC meeting on 7th evening to share. It has been very painful for the family specially Binayak’s 84 year old mother & his daughters, besides Ilina who is being treated for cancer herself, trying to manage her teaching job, spend hours in the never ending legal battles. Just keeping you all updated.
The conviction of doctor and human-rights activist, Binayak Sen, could have implications for India’s attempts to achieve universal health-care coverage. Patralekha Chatterjee reports.
At a time when India is working towards making access to health-care universal, a 61-year-old medical doctor, nationally and internationally acclaimed for running health clinics for poor tribal communities in remote parts of central India, is fighting a grim battle to prove he is not a threat to the country’s security.
Doctor and civil-rights activist Binayak Sen, the first Indian recipient of the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights, is in jail. On Dec 24, 2010, a trial court in Raipur, capital of Chhattisgarh state in central India, sentenced Sen to life imprisonment for sedition on the charge that he carried a letter between two members of a banned left-wing extremist outfit.
The doctor vehemently denies any wrongdoing and has appealed to the High Court, which will take up the matter on Jan 24. His family and legion of supporters inside and outside India point to the many glaring loopholes in the prosecution’s evidence.
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India: Towards Universal Health Coverage
Published January 11, 2011
This Series of papers on India’s path to full health coverage reveals that a failing health system is perhaps India’s greatest predicament. The papers in this Series reveal the full extent of opportunities and difficulties in Indian healthcare, by examining infectious and chronic diseases, availability of treatments and doctors, and the infrastructure to bring about universal health care by 2020. The Series brings together a rapidly growing body of evidence to show that Indian health is in crisis. As the country with the largest democracy in the world, India is well positioned to put health high on the political agenda.
One notable absentee from the launch of the Series on Jan 11, 2011 is paediatrician and Comment author Binayak Sen. He remains in prison, an appalling situation discussed in an Editorial in the Jan 8-14 issue of The Lancet.
The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 11 January 2011
Securing the right to health for all in India
The debates around securing the right to health for all in India are at a complex and sensitive stage. In India, we have gross inequity in health-care delivery. The huge inequity is evident, on the one hand, in flourishing international medical tourism, and high-technology biomedical interventions done cheaply, and, on the other, minimum levels of health care being unavailable to those unable to pay.1
The health status of people transcends the health-care sector, and the social determinants of health, such as food, water, sewerage, and shelter, still elude large numbers of the poorest citizens in India. Between the early 1990s, when the process of economic reforms began, and now, the yearly per head consumption of food grains in the country has drastically deteriorated.2 The latest National Family Health Survey (2005—06) provided grim evidence of very slow improvement in infant mortality, persistently low rates of child immunisation, and shocking rates of malnutrition.3 Inequity in social determinants of health and health care in a market-based system itself becomes a pathogenic factor that drives the engine of deprivation.
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The life sentence awarded to Binayak Sen would only accelerate the process of debasement of democracy and the rule of law.
THE Raipur Sessions Court has shocked the citizen’s conscience by delivering a judgment that makes a mockery of fundamental rights. The judgment against human rights defender and health activist Binayak Sen has brought unprecedented disgrace and ignominy upon India’s judicial system, and more generally, upon Indian society and politics. It will take a Herculean effort to roll back the personal, institutional, social and political damage that the verdict has caused. Merely overturning it in a higher court will not be enough.
Awarding life imprisonment to someone charged with an offence no greater than that of passing on letters from an undertrial prisoner to an allegedly extremist group’s leaders should appear altogether revolting to a civilised mind. This violates the principle of proportionality between crime and punishment (or provocation and reprisal).
On 4 January 2011, the occasion of Dr Binayak Sen’s 61st birthday, the Free Binayak Sen Campaign together with groups working on issues of the health and nutrition has launched an initiative to distribute blankets and feed homeless people in Delhi.
The month-long initiative is meant to help homeless citizens of Delhi to tide over the coldest part of the winter with additional nutrition. Many homeless people die every year in Delhi and other parts of northern India due to severe malnutrition during winter months.
The initiative is part of a larger campaign calling for the immediate release of Dr Sen, who has was unjustly sentenced on 24 December 2010 by a local court in Chhattisgarh to life imprisonment for ‘sedition’ and ‘conspiracy’.
The initiative is also meant to bring public attention on the issue of malnutrition among India’s poorest communities which Dr Binayak Sen, along with other public health workers, have been highlighting for many years.