Public Health Care, Rights, and Accountability

The course aims to equip the students with the perspectives of human rights and social accountability, to apply this framework to understand the health rights of communities, and to learn tools and techniques for strengthening the public healthcare system.

A robust public health care system is central to the fulfilment of the right to the highest attainable standard of health,’ to a holistic human development and to the realisation of citizenship. However, several factors have resulted in the weakening of the public health care system. These include, amongst others, the dilution of policy impetus to strengthen public health care system, an ecosystem that has liberalised the private-commercial health care, systemic lacunae in fixing accountability, and more importantly the absence of large-scale civil society engagement with the health rights issues to address health inequities. The experiences and evidence world-over has pointed to the importance of adopting the human rights approach and frameworks to strengthen the public health care system. Development practitioners with the necessary theoretical understanding, perspectives and skills to engage both with the communities as well as the public health care system, have the potential of addressing the issues of health inequities and integrate accountability approaches towards strengthening public health care. Primary health care that has been organised through primary health centres (PHCs), sub-centres will be taken as the institutional framework to illustrate to students the idea of public health care and as the site of community and public health care interface.

This elective builds on the foundations of core courses that include State, democracy and civil society, and social interventions.