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NHRC to hold public hearings on health rights

National Human Rights Commission

Mumbai:  With a view to looking into the issue of violation of people’s rights in the public and private healthcare sectors, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has decided to hold public hearings on ‘Right to Healthcare’ in different cities.

The initiative is being organised in collaboration with Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) — a network of health rights organisations.

The public hearing for the western region, covering the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Goa, will be held at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences here on September 18 and November 19, JSA said in a release.

A national-level inquiry into people’s rights violations in the public and private health sectors across India would be undertaken at these public hearings, it said.

The exercise will also include a discussion on the status of existing regulatory structures and systemic factors contributing to the violation of patients’ rights, advocate Kamayani Mahabal, human right activist and an associate of JSA, told PTI.

“The main objective of the proposed public hearings would be to review human rights violations in the context of public and private healthcare services and to draw attention towards key systemic and policy-related issues,” she said.

NHRC would take steps to ensure action in specific cases and would formulate a range of related recommendations to ensure protection of health rights, she added.

To hear and respond to testimonies and presentations of the participants, officials like state health secretaries, mission directors, directors of health services and medical education, national and state medical councils and consumer protection councils would be invited to the public hearings.

Chief medical officers of civic bodies, officials involved with publicly-funded health insurance schemes and those responsible for regulation of public and privately-run hospitals, too, will be requested to take part in the proceedings, she added.

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