A week after returning from jail, on 8th October 2020, Dr Kafeel Khan relaunched his campaign demanding free, accessible and good healthcare for all on the basis of health ia a fundamental right under one’s right to life. The “Health for All” campaign was an initiative by Dr Kafeel Khan along with a team of doctors from all over India started two years ago. The medical practitioners decided to relaunch the same in post-COVID-19 times.
At a recent press conference, a team of doctors talked extensively regarding the need for free healthcare for all as well as the repeated arrests and harassment of Dr Kafeel Khan by the Indian state.
Healthcare for All Initiative
Many doctors who lent their solidarity to the #Healthforall campaign argued that current health system was exposed by the crisis. But COVID-19 is not the cause of havoc in medical institutes as combating issues such as malaria, dengue, etc needs to be addressed as it is killing many Indians. Dr Kafeel Khan also pointed to the high rates of diabetes in the country which is not being adequately tackled. He also pointed out that 50% children are malnourished. He also said that 50% of the population also does not have enough to eat on a day to day basis, according to the World Hunger Interest.
Dr Harjith Singh Bhatti explained that in most places in India there aren’t hospitals, referral systems or adequate facilities.
Because of lack of accessible healthcare, people are forced to come to cities & metros. but they mostly have private hospitals. these are not regulated properly and are able to steal from people.
Dr Kafeel Khan criticised the Indian State and the present and previous Governments for disenfranchising the the public healthcare system by reducing spending on it. To serve their greed many Governments pushed for privatisation of healthcare, making the majority of the population extremely vulnerable.
They also criticized mismanagement in Government hospital. The video featured many clips which showed the Government’s apathy towards medical institutes. This incuded the deaths of 100 or more children in Bihar’s Muzzafarpur, flooding of a hospital and quarters in Patna, denial of shelter and treatment to patients from marginalized backgrounds, lack of staffers in COVID ward leading to a corpse being kept in the ward for days amongst others.
In the press conference, Dr Kafeel Khan also referred to the gender gap in healthcare. According to the Global Gender Gap Index, per the Global Gender Gap Report, India dropped from 108th to 112th in World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) in the year 2020.
Many Doctors who were featured in Dr. Kafeel Khan’s video also reaffirmed this, stating that a better and free healthcare system- particularly in villages- is needed for any development to take place in the country.
For this, they stated that there is a need for an “Indian Medical Service”. They also demanded that the Government form a law on the basis of “Health for All.”
Reinstate Dr Kafeel Khan
Kafeel Khan also requested that being reinstated and his suspension revoked. He has been suspended for the last three years despite being given a clean chit by the High Court for his alleged medical negligence and corruption and 9 different inquires being conducted. All other doctors who were suspended with him have been reinstated.
Many doctors present at the conference extended their solidarity. The Indian Medical Association also finally spoke up regarding the same and wrote a letter to Suresh Khanna, Medical Education minister, Uttar Pradesh. They also requested suspension should be revoked immediately.
Medical bodies such as PM PMSF (progressive Medico’s and scientists forum) and MSC (Medical Services Centre ) had already written to Yogi Adityanath regarding the same, providing Dr Kafeel Khan all their support.
The note posted along with the press conference includes the 9 inquiry reports:
1-District Magistrate, Gorakhpur, Uttar-Pradesh submitted on 12 August 2017.
2-Commissioner, Gorakhpur zone, Uttar Pradesh submitted on 16th August 2017.
3-Director General of Medical Education, Uttar Pradesh submitted his report on 18 August 2017.
4- SGPGI, Lucknow team headed by Dr. Hem Chandra submitted on 18 August 2017.
5– Central Government Health ministry inquiry headed by Dr. Hrish Chelani Prof & Head VMMC, submitted on 14th August 2017.
7-Chief Secretary to Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh submitted on 21st August 2017.
8–High Court initiated inquiry submitted in September 2017
9-Departmental Inquiry Headed by Principal Secretary Stamp and registration Mr. Himanshu Kumar submitted on 18th April 2019
Till date, Dr Kafeel Khan has written more than 25 letters to the Uttar Pradesh authorities requesting them to revoke his suspension. The last 3 letters he has written on 18th September 2020 /13 October 2020 and 07/11/2020 after Allahabad High Court quashing his illegal NSA.