CHANDIGARH, JANUARY 30: Today, representatives of various people’s organisations and other medical doctors, public health experts, researchers, professors and other social activists from Punjab & Chandigarh and other parts of the country met to discuss recent move to privatize health and education in Punjab and Chandigarh. The campaign was formed in response to the public notice issued by the Punjab Health Department on 20th January 2019 inviting private entities to bid to run primary healthcare facilities in Punjab. Similarly, the Chandigarh administration announced today, on 30th January 2019, that they are going to hand over government schools to for profit private players.
The meeting began with Dr. Pyare Lal Garg, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan began the meeting by outlining corruption and misgovernance of health services in Punjab. He mentioned that that after two failed attempts in 2011 and 2015, the government has now again moved to hand over public health services to profit making private entities.
Professor Manjit Singh, educationist highlighted that such handing over is happening not just in health sector, but also in education, both of which are public goods and constitutional rights to the people.
Amulya Nidhi, National Co-Convener, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan said that the Punjab government was repeating the mistake made by Karnataka in 2008 where, under Arogya Bandhu Scheme, 39 CHCs and PHCs were handed over to private players. It was found through an NRHM Evaluation study in 2013 that the Arogya Bandhu Scheme has failed to achieve its primary objective to improve quality of healthcare services. Hence, the government of Karnataka has now withdrawn the PPP move in the state. In Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan the move to privatise public health services has been vehemently challenged by civil society.
Inayat Singh Kakar, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan shared the background documents of the Punjab government’s move towards privatization of health facilities and updated the group on the same.
The campaign group has decided to undertake mass mobilization in various geographical locations of Punjab and Chandigarh, educational institutions, urban slums and public places against the move to privatise essential public services of health and education.