Health Equity Network India (HENI) – the 21st Equilogues
3:00-4:30 PM IST
Theme: Leaving no one behind:
Understanding the gaps in the current approach to ensuring UHC in India
Background: Universal Health Coverage is intended to “leave no one behind”, and yet often falls far short of this goal, even in the best of circumstances and when intentions are earnest. This panel will focus on recent research on the reach, acceptability, and impact of UHC schemes on access to healthcare for socially excluded communities (Indigenous communities and older widows living alone) in the South Indian state of Kerala. Drawing on concrete examples, the speakers will highlight the limitations of relying on health insurance and the presence of health facilities alone to achieve UHC in India.
Format: The Health Equity Network India is pleased to host Dr. Sunil George and Mr. Ramu KA at its 21st Equilogue. The session will comprise a research presentation from Dr. George based on his doctoral research on inclusion in Universal Health Coverage in India, followed by reflections from Mr. Ramu, his Indigenous research collaborator from Attapadi in Palakkad, Kerala. The session will be introduced with opening remarks from Ms. Gloria Benny from The George Institute, India, and will be moderated by Prof. Rakhal Gaitonde from SCTIMST, Trivandrum, Kerala.
Dr. Sunil George
Dr. Sunil George is currently a Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Canberra, Australia. He has several years of experience of working with socially excluded communities and their ability to access healthcare services. Dr. George began his career in public health as an advocate for access to treatment for People living with HIV/AIDS in south India in the early 2000s. He has worked with a wide range of community-based organisations in India, South Africa, and Australia where he carried out qualitative and mixed methods research to understand the determinants of access to healthcare among different socially excluded groups. His doctoral thesis explored the issue of Universal Health Coverage and its impact on access to healthcare for two socially excluded communities i.e., Indigenous (Adivasi) and Older widows living alone, in the south Indian state of Kerala.
Mr. Ramu K.A.
Ramu K.A. is an Adivasi activist who belongs to the Muduga community from Attapadi, Kerala. He has been at the forefront of advocating for social and political determinants of health, including restoring the lands that were alienated from the Irula, Muduga, and Kurumba communities living in Attapadi. Ramu continues to farm on his ancestral lands while being an advocate for the rights of his community.
Ms. Gloria Benny
Gloria Benny is working as a Research Assistant at The George Institute, in India. Gloria Benny holds a master’s degree in Development and a bachelor’s degree in Medical Sociology. She is developing her expertise in qualitative research. She has over five years of experience working with tribal and rural populations in southern and central India. Gloria has a strong interest in research topics within the ecosystem of Health systems and Social Participation in Health. Currently, she is involved in a health systems study on health equity and Universal Health Coverage.
Prof. Rakhal Gaitonde
The session will be moderated by Dr. Rakhal Gaitonde, Professor, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, Kerala. His work largely focuses on health policy, the social determinants of health, and health systems. He was involved in setting up a people-controlled health system in Maharashtra with Foundation for Research in Community Health. He has been involved with the Society for Community Health Awareness Research and Action (SOCHARA), where he was involved in the implementation of the NRHM in Tamil Nadu. He is also a member of the National ASHA Mentoring Group of the NHM.