Campaign for People’s Health Rights alleges...Vaccination policy too little, too late

    08-Jun-2021
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IMPHAL, Jun 8
The Campaign for People’s Health Rights, a collective body of various progressive youth, workers, women organizations and other groups has strongly denounced the Prime Minister’s announcements made in the immediate aftermath of the worst phase of Covid-19 pandemic.
The address by the Prime Minister comes at a time when lakhs of people have succumbed and thousands are succumbing daily due to Covid-19 and other comorbidities, Campaign for People’s Health Rights said in a press release.
 The PM’s strongman image has taken a severe beating and his Government’s negligence became palpably evident during the present crisis, it said while claiming that the address was more to boost his image, than to offer anything concrete.
The PM’s address, full of rhetorical superlatives, only boasted of how the Government had bravely addressed the whole crisis, by preparing a health infrastructure in a very short while. However, it should be remembered that the pathetic public health infrastructure of the country was exposed during the present crisis, even as the Central and State Governments tried their best to cover up the whole thing, it said.
Moreover, even the infrastructure for Covid-19 was created by closing health facilities for all other diseases and health conditions, thereby leading to innumerable deaths in the country, simply due to treatment being denied for these diseases and health conditions, the conglomerate platform said.
In the address, the PM had announced that the State quota of procurement of vaccines would be taken over by the Central Government, however, the 25% quota of total production earmarked for the private hospitals would remain. The step is too late and too little, as the Centre has only acceded to do so, only after its corporate-friendly procurement policy was heavily criticized from all quarters, it said.
Even now the big, corporate hospitals have been allowed to procure vaccines, when they are already known to charge hefty amounts for vaccinating, it said while adding that only a half-hearted attempt has been made to curb their rapacity by announcing a cap on their service charges, it alleged.
The platform also noted that major procurement of vaccines has been done by the Central Government and even at an allegedly low price of procurement, the vaccine making companies have made such super-profits that the market value of these companies has doubled during the pandemic, it alleged.
The other announcement made by the PM was of provision of rations to the poor till Diwali. Despite tall claims of the Central Government of provision of essentials to the public in the present and last year, it has notably failed to provide relief.  Reports abound of working masses to have starved during pandemic and lockdown as the rations purportedly distributed to them did not reach them, it said.
The distribution of rations was just a photo-ops exercise, just as the present announcement’s main aim is to make hefty claims instead of providing relief to the people, it said while adding that the Government has not heeded the working class people's demand for minimum income.
The Campaign for People’s Health Rights went on to demand the Central Government to take over all the big corporate hospitals, pharma and vaccine companies and provide all the necessary medical facilities to the general public free-of-cost. Not just rations should be ensured to the working masses, but 'Minimum Income' along with epidemic allowance should be ensured to them, it added.