Wealth Over Health?

As much as we loathe discrepancies in our country’s functioning, it becomes tad more evident to find the reasons behind the misgivings of our so-called caretakers.

Why does honesty and righteousness shun our government and its officials from time to time? It’s not quite an extraordinary question to ask, as any Indian would be asking the same question on day-to-day basis.

A news piece about the irregularities in the vaccines introduced by the Union health ministry left me flabbergasted. I wouldn’t have been so distressed if an aberration like this occurred in any other sectors of governance as they would not really put public’s life in jeopardy, not directly at least.

Union health ministry has been alleged by the Delhi High Court of misleading the public by introducing vaccines in the public health system without proper medical research or epidemiological and medical studies. The vaccines were blatantly chosen under the vantage ground of the vaccine manufacturers and international agencies like the WHO.

We, as a country before endorsing any vaccination ought to confirm from our side that the vaccine is fit to be consumed, no matter who influences us to purchase a particular vaccine. But the ministry being lackadaisical and blinded to the repercussions of such carelessness kept stuffing new vaccines into the National Immunization Programme.
It was also noticed that most of the unchecked vaccines were of very little utility and could have been easily be done without. So, why did the government take a risk of this sort? Why was the personal decree of the vaccine manufacturers rated over the safety of general public?
The issue may not be ripe enough because the Union Home Ministry is yet to plead its case before the court but regardless of that, this issue of irregularities in vaccines is a serious one. What happens to the vaccines already injected into the public health system? Will they be recalled?

It’s certainly a matter to keep a track of; the reaction of the government and seriousness it associates with this health issue will determine of how much importance public health is to the government.
While America pushes for the watershed heath care bill, India struggles to build a trustworthy health ministry. The picture in India may not be all too gloomy as it seems, but when such issues foster up, it’s hard to ignore the floating distrust in the ministry.

Tanya Jain

[Image courtesy: http://hscweb3.hsc.usf.edu/health/now/wp-content/IndiaMap_AIDS_Jump.jpg]