Since 1999 only 1.2 per cent of GDP is being spent on health by Indian governments- Dr Kafeel Khan

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Kolkata: Dr Kafeel Khan, the suspended lecturer of Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Hospital, Gorakhpur who is advocating Health for All initiative claims that healthcare system in India is in shamble. And because of this in 2017, around eight lakh kids have died. Also that from tuberclosis only 4.5 lakh people die every year. And since 1999, different governments have only spent 1.2 percent of India’s total GDP on healthcare system.

During his three-day visit of Kolkata, Dr Kafeel, formally launched the Kolkata chapter of Health for All – a pan India initiative of Dr Kafeel Khan Smile Mission Foundation in association with 25 non-political health activists.

Dr Kafeel, while speaking to eNewsroom on the sidelines of Public Health Crisis, a monthly film screening and conversation programme organised by People’s Film Collective at Jogesh Film Academy said, “The public healthcare system is in shambles and is affecting the poor and the marginalised. And it is these poor who often have to bear the brunt of the state apathy. If you will look at the budget set aside for healthcare during the annual budget, you will realise that the budget is not even enough to even fulfil the promises made by the Prime Minister.”

Highlighting the abysmal state of national healthcare, the doctor said, “Since 1999 only 1.2 per cent of GDP is being spent on healthcare system in India. We can’t just blame the Modi government for the same. Eighty per cent of doctors practices in private. In 2017, around eight lakh kids died and most of these deaths were preventable. While around 4.5 lakh people die of tuberculosis in India annually.”

He continued, “Fake medicine industry is on the boom. If a solution is not provided to all these problems, then India will emerge as an ailing nation. We need to remember that a sick nation can never progress in the best possible way.”

According to Dr Kafeel, who has been at the receiving end of the Uttar Pradesh government, mentioned that his Health for All project aims to work closely with the state and the central government to better the healthcare facility right at the grassroot level. He said, “After having launched this project at various Indian states, I am here to formally launch its Kolkata chapter. I am in talks with MP Mamataz Sanghamitha and later will be presenting the same to the CM of Bengal so that our think tank body along with all the government agencies can better the healthcare facilities being made available to the masses.”

One being asked about him having tweeted to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan seeking an appointment, he said, “They have just responded saying that we can meet him on any working day. I shall be meeting him by July 15.”

During his two-hour-long session, Dr Kafeel was seen narrating his turmoil and constant victimisation by the UP government. He said, “I was just an ordinary doctor, who was doing his job. I never had anticipated that my life would take such a turn. If an educated man like me can be cornered in this manner, then one can imagine the plight of those hailing from the marginalised section of the society.”

However, on being asked if he was being victimised by the UP government because of his religious identity, he said, “I don’t think so. Had there been any other doctor in my place at BRD Hospital during that crisis period, he would also have been framed. I have been made a scapegoat by the CM of UP to save his health minister, who had stopped the payments being made to the liquid oxygen supplier simply because he was seeking a 10 per cent cut from the supplier.”

Dr Kafeel is also supposed to meet the Indian Medical Association officials on July 12. “After my tweet question IMA’s stand when they backed the Kolkata Doctor Strike, they have asked me to meet their officials, so that they can look into my issue, which is, the UP government not clearing my due or revoking my suspension even after a Supreme Court double bench asking the UP government to clear my dues.” He then added, “I also need to earn a living. If my suspension is not revoked then I want the UP government to relieve me of my duties.”

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