Coronavirus | Health activists oppose new rule for COVID-19 tests in Rajasthan

Health workers during a door-to-door coronavirus-related survey in Ajmer, Rajasthan. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Health activists attached to the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) here on Thursday demanded revocation of a new rule making Aadhaar card mandatory for COVID-19 tests in Rajasthan. The rule has apparently been enforced by the Medical & Health Department to ensure effective tracking of patients.

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The JSA, which functions as the State chapter of the People’s Health Movement, has shot off a letter to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, pointing out that the rule would affect people’s access to health care services and thwart the government’s efforts to control the pandemic.

Violation of right to life

“The homeless and nomadic people and those from the disadvantaged communities, who do not possess any identity card, are at an equal risk of getting infected. Their inability to produce Aadhaar card will deprive them of life-saving diagnostics and treatment,” said the JSA, adding that it would amount to an outright violation of right to life.

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JSA member Chhaya Pachauli, director of the Chittorgarh-based Prayas Centre for Health Equity, said since the errors and irregularities in the cards had been repeatedly exposed in various investigations, the information obtained through them would not be reliable. “This may lead to more problems with tracking rather than reducing them,” she said.

Ms. Pachauli said depriving anyone of the COVID-19 test or treatment solely because they did not have the identity card would completely thwart the government’s efforts to control the pandemic. “Even if a single positive person in the community goes undetected, he or she may inadvertently spread the infection to many more people.”

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Denial of services

The letter said enforcing a rule or implementing a policy which might create barriers to people’s access to tests or treatment or lead to denial of these services should be “detested and refrained from”.

The JSA demanded that the State government revoke the rule notified on July 25 and come out with a clear statement regarding its abrogation. All government and private hospitals, testing centres, sample collection centres and lab technicians should be given clear instructions that no one would be denied the test or treatment on the ground of not having an Aadhaar or any other identity card, it said.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 10:16:00 PM |

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