Invest more money in Healthcare urgently!
The Maharashtra State government in 2015-16 had allocated Rs.2,296 crores to the health sector. An amount which is less than 0.5% of the State Domestic Product (SDP). The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fractured and broken healthcare system in Maharashtra. The doctors and all healthcare professionals and personnel have been put under severe stress, working long hours with scarce resources, bare minimum or little infrastructure, shortage of medicines, beds, oxygen and essential medicines and supplies, including protection gear.
Instead of investing money to build better health facilities, infrastructure and supplies and pay the doctors and staff in all government and municipal hospitals better salaries for the work they have been doing round the clock, the government of Maharashtra prioritises to spend money on building statues. The government in Maharashtra is willing to spend almost Rs.5,000 crores on building 2 statues - Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue in the Arabian Sea (about Rs.3,800/- crores) and Ambedkar statue (Rs.900 crores).
More than 30,000 people have died in the State due to coronavirus and many others have died as they could not access the healthcare systems that were overburdened. A lot of healthcare workers have been infected with the coronavirus and many have died. To make things worse, healthcare workers have been the target of violence by unscrupulous persons.
We demand that the State government of Maharashtra prioritizes building the healthcare system in the State prior to building the statues. Rs.5,000 crores (an amount more than double the current spending on healthcare in the State), if invested in the healthcare system of Maharashtra will make it the state of the art place for healthcare facilities, and more people will be treated and lives can be saved. The fractured healthcare system needs to be saved. Our appeal to the State government is:
- Please get the priorities right. Invest more money in healthcare urgently. Increase the SDP spending on healthcare to about 5%
- Build more government or municipal hospitals that provide free and subsidised services to the people
- Increase the number of teaching medical institutions
- Provide better and safer working conditions for all healthcare personnel, with better working hours