Announcing the publication of Patients’ voices during the Pandemic: Stories and analysis of rights violations and overcharging by private hospitals by SATHI, written by Shweta Marathe, Shakuntala Bhalerao, Dr Kanchan Pawar, Dr Dhananjay Kakade and Dr Abhay Shukla.
For more than two decades, SATHI (Support fro Advocacy and Training in Health Initiatives) has been working for the right to health, mainly in Maharashtra with some outreach in other states and collaborations with other organizations in the People’s Health Movement throughout India. During the pandemic right to health became a front and center issue for organizations working in diverse fields of development and human rights. Maharashtra suffered India’s heaviest COVID caseload and death toll,. During the second wave over 30 grassroots organizations across the state attended training sessions with SATHI to enable them to support people’s rights to health and to document cases of denial and overcharging.
SATHI organized assemblies where patients and loved ones could vent their frustrations. A large number of women who lost husbands to covid came forward – hear testimonies of Covid Widows.
Their testimonies brought national attention to the plight of those seeking health care and the urgent need to regulate private health care and ensure that health insurance schemes such as PMJAY and Ayushman Bharat function as intended to the last mile.
In 2022 SATHI has published a collection of stories entitled: Patients’ voices during the Pandemic: Stories and analysis of rights violations and overcharging by private hospitals
The collection of 23 testimonies in this compendium illustrates patients’ traumatic experiences seeking treatment in private hospitals during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maharashtra, India. These powerful testimonies highlight the multitude of challenges patients encountered, and their vulnerability and helplessness when faced with the need to use services of private hospitals during the pandemic. It exposes the ruthless character of privatisation in health care which puts profit before life-saving with rampant overcharging, and highlights the serious consequences of failure to regulate the private sector during the crisis. It also initiates a discussion of possible ways to regulate and socialise the private healthcare sector in India.
This compendium is collaboratively written by Shweta Marathe, Shakuntala Bhalerao, Dr Kanchan Pawar, Dr Dhananjay Kakade and Dr Abhay Shukla from SATHI Pune. It is available on the SATHI website at: sathicehat.org
AID has supported SATHI’s work in right to health including hospital based helpdesks and community based health activists during the pandemic, technical assistance for filing refund applications for overcharging, and an ongoing program to strengthen health services through Jan Arogya Samitis and community based monitoring of Public Health Centers and Health and Wellness Centers. The program is currently focussed on three rural districts – Pune, Nandurbar and Thane and one urban area – Pune city.
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