Law for healthcare rights is need of hour: Ansari

New Delhi: Underlining the urgent need for a law that covers healthcare rights, Vice President Hamid Ansari today said there is evidence to suggest that investment in preventive healthcare may be politically less rewarding in a democracy like India in comparison to providing specialised healthcare.

Speaking at the convocation of Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Ansari said the question of priorities remains in the realm of debate.

He said some observers maintain that the diversion of public health resources towards population control and the use of technocratic drug-based interventions to tackle specific diseases were responsible for the lack of adequate investments in public health infrastructure in India.

“There is some evidence that investing in preventive public health infrastructure may be politically less rewarding in a democracy such as India in comparison to providing private goods such as specialised healthcare.

“Achievements in preventive public health such as the absence of epidemics are by definition negative in nature, unlike achievements in the provision of specialised curative care,” Ansari said.

The Vice President said it is being recognised that a credible public health system is urgently required as people are dependent largely on the unregulated private sector, there is gross under-investment in health, rate of decline of either infant or maternal mortality has been slow and there has been a resurgence in communicable diseases.

“A comprehensive act that covers the various aspects of healthcare rights, delivery and related matters is a pressing need,” he said.