An open letter to Arvind Kejriwal on aam aadmi’s health

By Santanu B
_______________________________________________________________________________________

Arvind Kejriwal (Image Courtesy - indiatoday.intoday.in)
Arvind Kejriwal
(Image Courtesy – indiatoday.intoday.in)

Dear Arvind Kejriwal:

Now that you are going to be the chief minister of Delhi (with Congress support, of course), we at Savetime have a few concerns and requests for the Aam Aadmi Party. To begin with, you deserve a round of applause for taking on the money machine politics of Delhi and showing them that people are not stupid. Now a word of caution: please do not degenerate into an aam party. With the Congress behind you that is a possibility. Of course, we understand that in politics there are compulsions and, in order to change things, it is better to be in power. We do not know how quickly or effectively the system can be changed, but we cannot be sure until somebody gets a fighting chance. So, while we look to a brighter future (what’s the new year for, anyway?), we know that we have to tread lightly because the fact is, your party is yet to be put to the governance test. While people’s revolutions work well, the brains behind it may or may not make great administrators. Look what happened to Assam. After the Assam Accord was signed by Rajeev Gandhi and the revolutionary students’ body, AASU, took the reins of governance as the AGP, it screwed up the state’s future because the leaders could not handle the power (and the dough that comes along) humbly and sensibly – a very common story. ________________________________________________________________________________
Did you know?

While the bird’s eye view from number crunchers is that India spends 4.1% of our GDP on health, the ground reality is that 70% of it is from people’s own pockets or private spending, meaning that the government spends barely 1% on health. Only Indonesia spends less than us. Since people have to spend so much from their own pockets, it’s estimated that health expenses force 39 million people each year into poverty. ________________________________________________________________________________

Since Savetime’s concern is health, we have a few things to share with you about healthcare challenges that are to do with the aam aadmi. Hope you find it engaging enough to use them to set an example for all of India. And yes, we are talking like the aam aadmi, not like a jargon-loving economist or something:

  1. There is a reason we dislike cops. If you help an accident victim (or someone unfit to drive etc), the cops are bound to give us a long look. Could you please tell the cops to treat us with respect? There are campaigns where top cops say many things about people’s participation making policing better, but the truth inside a police station (especially after midnight) is something else. Make us feel safe.
  2. Can you please make hospital staff more sensitive to the needs of the aam aadmi? Just because it is a government hospital does not mean the doctors and staff can treat us any way they want. Could there be some kind of sensitisation on how to treat and take care of poor patients?
  3. Could you also have enquiry windows of hospitals working like enquiry windows? It is terrible to see curt people behind such windows knitting sweaters or whatever and telling us off. Unless there is some aggression, good info rarely gets out of there.
  4. Could you please tell doctors and hospital staff that just because an individual is a bureaucrat or a big somebody s/he can’t jump the queue? So called VIPs are humans first and should wait for their turn like the aam aadmi. Can you ensure that applies to you as well (because that’s the best example)?
  5. Could you please ensure a system that allows a regular and up-to-date stocking at rural hospitals?
  6. Could you see that the first aid boxes in trains are properly stocked in all sectors? Few years back, one of our colleagues got hit by a stone pelter and got a serious cut on his lip. The Railway authorities in Varanasi did not have a tetanus shot or iodine in the FA box. So, he was asked to get out of the station and buy supplies from a pharmacy while there were only 10 minutes for his train to leave. Does that make sense?
  7.  When cases like poisoning, accident or rape and such like arrive, most hospitals and doctors insist on a police case being made first even now. Could you please tell them to start the treatment first?
  8. Could you rationalise the cost of medicines and overall healthcare? It is unaffordable to be ill these days. Even insurance does not help and the poor feel death is much better.
  9. If somebody is really serious, please make it mandatory for a doctor who has been called to make a home visit. That could save a life. Most doctors never make house calls in urban areas and, if they do, they charge whatever the hell they feel like. Could you please remind them the Oath of Hippocrates?
  10. Could you ensure that alternative medicines like Ayurveda have better visibility and education?
  11. Could you ensure that the government does not cut expenditure on health just because it does not have money for stuff like guns etc? Healthcare is an investment, not a loss. As you probably know, a country is about its people and a people need to be healthy in order to achieve anything.
  12. Physical education and promoting healthy eating in all schools: could this be the number one subject in our education system?
  13. Could we have a system where generic drug names are mentioned in prescriptions and not brand names?
  14. Referral systems that doctors use to further their business are annoying. Could these be made transparent at least? Something like; This hospital refers you only to XYZ centre for radiology needs. If you find some place cheaper/ better, please feel free to go there.
  15. Could couples be granted maternity leave? Both parents need to look after a child. In a country where infant deaths are one of the highest in the world, this is important.
  16. Could we make sanitation our number one priority? Malls and stuff are fine, but without clean water and top class hygiene India cannot be a truly healthy and wealthy country.
  17. Could we have strict fines on those that litter, spit, urinate etc on public roads? We need to tell them the road is not their property.
  18. Could we have more public loos that are clean, with enough restrooms for women? We don’t mind paying a little for them if our taxes are not enough to keep them clean. Just ask any woman what she fears in a public loo, and she will scream “UTI”.
  19. One in three maternal deaths are reported from India, mostly due to childbirth. Could we have a robust plan, that includes awareness, to curb this?
  20.  Finally, do you really think there is a way to stop our population growth? You think you could come up with a plan that would at least drive people to condom vending machines, to begin with? We know this is a tough one, but we hope you have a real plan.

We wish you all the success and hope that you achieve real big things that make the lives of our people happier, healthier and affluent. With a Merry Christmas, we would like to end this letter.

Warm regards,
The Savetime Team.

3 thoughts on “An open letter to Arvind Kejriwal on aam aadmi’s health”

  1. Prophets of Doom ?

    Since yesterday morning when Arvind Kejriwal announced that AAP will form a government in Delhi , prophets of doom have sprung into action everywhere – mostly on TV

    They are saying :

    > AAP government cannot deliver on its impractical poll promises

    > AAP has sacrificed its principle of taking no support

    > AAP has betrayed the people of Delhi

    > AAP is lusting for power – like all other parties

    > AAP has no experience in running a government

    > People will soon get disillusioned with AAP……………etc

    Then there are some who are not happy being mere dooms-dayer !

    They want to pro-actively bring about the downfall of AAP by laying a carefully concealed trap for AAP to walk into !

    Take Dr Harshvardhan of BJP

    He challenges AAP government to arrest / prosecute within next 30 days , those persons who were held guilty by the Shunglu Commission , in respect of CWG scam

    Being a polite gentleman , he does not name names ( Sheila Dikshit ? )

    He says , exposing and punishing the corrupt is an important poll promise of AAP

    You would think Sheila Dikshit would get offended with Dr Harshvardhan

    Oh , but No !

    Quite the contrary

    She too wants Arvind to walk into this trap !

    That would give her just the desired excuse to withdraw that ” Outside Support ” of Congress to bring down the AAP government

    I hope Arvind is smart enough to see through these macabre machinations of mediocre minions , who want to lead AAP , up a garden path !

    DEAR ARVIND ,

    Exposing the corrupt is ” IMPORTANT – but not URGENT ”

    It is NOT your priority No 1

    Delivering pro-poor reforms is both ” IMPORTANT and URGENT ”

    Stay your course and watch out for the traps

    REMAINING HONEST IN THE DAYS TO COME IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN EXPOSING THE CORRUPTION OF THE PAST

    * hemen parekh ( 24 Dec 2013 / Mumbai )

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