Developing a Truly Universal Indian Health System: The Problem of Replacing “Health for All’ with “Universal Access to Health Care”

Amit Sengupta, Vandana Prasad


India, like other countries in the developing world, is suffering from the seemingly paradoxical trends of high economic growth amongst a certain section of the population, coupled with extreme poverty and underdevelopment amongst others. This situation of extreme, obscene and growing inequity is perhaps best characterized by the failure of these countries to achieve health goals such as lowered maternal mortality, infant mortality and rates of malnutrition. ‘Health for All’ indeed remains a distant dream.
Meanwhile, there has been a shift in how this problem is described and approached. The positive slogan of ‘Health for All’ is slowly being replaced by the goal of ‘Universal Access to Health Care’., At first sight, these seem deceptively similar in intent and direction, but in fact they are fundamentally different.

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