Perpetuating health inequities in India: global ethics in policy and practice

Decisions that influence health and access to health care are necessarily a matter of ethics. This paper attempts to examine current budgetary allocations and policy shifts in India from the perspective of global ethical values. It also describes how global economic processes may increase health inequity nationally and argues that they should, therefore, be subject to global health ethics. Public health in India is in a state of crisis from a disinvestment in public health care services and persistent neglect, simultaneous to the global push to enhance privatization. National health policies have remained oblivious to the unacceptably high inequity in access to health care on the one hand, and the cautionary analysis of the experience with currently chosen solutions through public-private- partnership and insurance models, which further marginalize the poorest.

Global institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) also influence national policies to benefit global business interests but often with detrimental effect upon equitable access to health and health care. The paper argues that the application of ethics must become more visible in the determination of national policies that are led by the dominant global paradigms of economic development to ensure that equitable access to health is prioritized.

This article has been written by Dr Vandana Prasad and Dr Amit Sengupta.
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