The second wave of Covid19 in India has shattered any illusions left intact by the first wave. Neither money nor influence nor any other kind of privilege shielded us from the devastation caused not only by the virus but by the utter brokenness of our public health systems as well as the incompetence of elected leaders responsible for them.
You, and I, and others we know stepped up, took desperate measures for our own loved ones, for acquaintances, for complete strangers. The situation reached a point where no amount of fudging of data, no bans on photography, not even arrests of citizens pleading for help have been able to hide the staggering number of human lives lost or the intensity of suffering and loss.
A third wave now seems inevitable. And we are not, despite all the warnings we have had, even somewhat prepared for it. In fact, our systems are even more fragile, held together by overworked medical staff, occasional NGO support, public donations, and sheer human determination, none of which is a substitute for an evidence-based, accountable, transparent, equitable, well-funded and widely-accessible public health system.
If such a system must come to be, it must be based on citizens’ demands. And those demands must be based on a robust understanding of systemic issues in public health.
It is towards such public understanding and empowerment, that we believe responsible reporting must focus.
At Citizen Matters, we working to ask and answer:
- Who is in charge of public health, and what are they supposed to do in times of a pandemic?
- How is the health system being financed (or not) and how can patient expenses be covered?
- What are the regulatory mechanisms and are they ensuring integrated service delivery of healthcare (public or private)?
- What needs to be done at various tiers – community health structures, primary health centres, or larger hospitals?
- What needs to be fixed in other aspects of public health like nutrition and sanitation?
Consistent, persistent, investigative reporting on public health will be essential to a new approach to healthcare in India. And your support is needed, urgently.
We need Rs 2.4 lakhs per city, to do this project. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a city preference – we are targeting Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, and New Delhi/NCR for now. Please donate now.