A collective of organisations and individuals has urged political parties to prioritise universal access to public health in their manifesto and promise an enhancement in budgetary allocation for health to at least 5% of the country’s annual budget.
“The current spending on public health is 1.15-1.5% of the GDP . We seek an immediate increase in the health expenditure to 3.5% of the GDP,” said Pratigya, Campaign for gender equality and safe abortion, in a statement.
It has also asked for focusing of women’s health and rights as an election issue and the need to improve access to reproductive health as well as contraceptives and safe abortion.
The collective has also demanded an increase in budgetary allocations for ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Workers), AWWs (Anganwadi workers) and ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwives) and for improving infrastructure at public health facilities.
It has also suggested including youth in policy-framing to adequately address their sexual and reproductive health needs.