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Jan Swasthya Abhiyan – Indian Chapter of PHM

Sama is a national resource group of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) the Indian Chapter of the global People’s Health Movement has been actively involved in the activities and initiatives of the Jan Swasthy aAbhiyan since its emergence in 2000, in campaigning for the right to health and health care to be enshrined as a fundamental right. We have also collaborated with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), to coordinate public hearings on the denial to Right to Health Care and towards ensuring the recognition of health as a fundamental right. This collaborative effort resulted in the development of the National Action Plan towards promoting and protecting health rights of the people and increasing the accountability of the State towards achieving Right to Health Care. The State has not made any changes in the constitution yet, recognizing health as a fundamental right. However there is a very strong campaign, spearheaded by JSA, advocating for health as a fundamental right.

Sama is actively involved with the activities of the Delhi chapter of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Delhi (JSAD). JSAD initiated a survey of health facilities in Delhi with the objective of gathering evidence towards strengthening the public health system and making it accountable to the people.

Sama is a member of the core group formed for this study and has been involved in the process of planning the survey, reviewing the questionnaires, providing training to the field researchers from 25 organisations of Delhi. Sama was also involved in providing inputs in analysis of the data from the survey and in preparation of the final report / document for advocacy based on the survey findings.

The survey studied the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of the health facilities and services. It was carried out by different organizations which are part of JSA D, and included observations, review of secondary literature, interviews / discussions with health officials, providers and users, and group discussions with the community. All primary health care level institutions and a sample of secondary and tertiary facilities were covered.. The findings from this study are expected to provide the requisite evidence to advocate for the strengthening of the functioning and accountability of the health facilities. The study findings will also serve as a powerful tool in JSA’s national advocacy initiative for achieving the Right to Healthcare.

Sama as a member of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) has been actively involved in critiquing and highlighting health care violations, especially against women from marginalised communities. In the past two years we were involved in organizing regional and national public hearings in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to highlight health care violations and ensure that action is taken to stop these and to protect and promote the right to health, including women’s right to health. Sama played an active role in Regional Public Hearings of the NHRC on the denial to Right to Health Care in 5 regions of the country (North, South, East, West and North-East) and later at the National Level public hearings conducted in New Delhi. An increased number of people, including women from marginalized communities are coming forward to articulate violations of their health rights as was evident during the regional and national public hearings organized in collaboration with the NHRC
Sama has been able to carve a space within the national people’s health movement - JSA for women’s health issues. Sama has also been consistently raising the issue of right to health of women, marginalized groups, marginalized sexualities within the JSA through workshops, trainings and discussions.

Sama also played a substantial role in planning and coordinating various aspects of the second National Health Assembly (NHA2) held in March 2007 in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh as a part of the programme committee for NHA2. Held to discuss issues regarding “Defending the health of people in the era of Globalization”, Sama focused on working on the theme of “Social Exclusions and Healthcare.”

Sama also coordinated and facilitated a session at the Assembly to initiate discussions for future action towards building coalitions, alliances and an overall strong campaign around women’s health rights.
Around 2000 community based health activists from 20 states of India participated in the Assembly. Activists from Bangladesh and members of the global People’s Health Movement – from USA, Iraq, Palestine, South Africa, Nicaragua, Philippines participated in the Assembly to express their solidarity with the Indian People’s Health Movement (Jan Swasthya Abhiyan).

Sama being an integral part of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) participated in the two day event (21st – 22nd January, 2015) on ‘Universal Access to Free Medicine and Free Diagnostics’ organized by JSA, Prayas and Oxfam India at India International Centre, Lodhi Road.

The event reflected upon various issues of public health particularly in the context of providing ‘access to medicines’ situation in India with a special focus on free and universal access to essential medicines by the government. The discussions also deliberated on the emerging challenges in the Indian pharma industry and its implication for domestic production and supply of generic medicines. The members of JSA also participated in the event. There were JSA representatives from approximately 8 states, who shared the implementation status of free drugs and diagnostic schemes in their respective states.The event was concluded with a brainstorming session on the emerging framework for future action. The discussion also focused around initiating and strengthening free medicines mechanism and identifying spaces for future action.

Sama's engagements with JSA

  • The Preparatory meeting for the Northern Region National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)-Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) public hearing was organized on the 19th July in PGIMER, Chandigarh. The JSA representatives from Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab attended the daylong preparatory meeting. The participants deliberated on the concept note, protocols and various themes for the NHRC-JSA public hearing which is going to be held on the 16th and 17th February 2016.