The recent death of several children suffering from Japanese encephalitis in Gorakhpur grabbed headlines and sparked public outrage across the country. It also put the spotlight on India’s failing healthcare system. This series takes a deep dive into the issues that plague public health in India, particularly child health, and offers innovative ideas on how the government, civil society and industry can contribute to improving the situation.

Public health isn’t about state-run hospitals

Nearly all democracies use two modalities of modern medicine to keep citizens healthy—public health and disease-care. Public health is what the state does to prevent diseases and to protect health. In contrast, disease-care includes the different types of biomedical interventions that are carried out to restore health after an individual falls ill. Read more

Uttar Pradesh’s child death crisis

The recent tragedy of more than 85 children and newborns who died in Gorakhpur has, not for the first time, put the spotlight starkly on the country’s ailing public health system. The lack of all things important to human settlements—sanitation, disease surveillance, primary healthcare, tertiary hospitals, resources, life-saving equipment, political will and public health response—was so dramatic, if someone were to document the state of affairs of a crumbling health system, one couldn’t have described it better. Read more

A healthy future for mothers and babies

Despite the remarkable global progress made in maternal and newborn survival over the last decade, 4.6 million babies still die in their first year of life—nearly three million in the first 28 days. India loses more children under age 5 each year than any other country. Read more

A jobs scheme to improve public health

The tragedy of children with encephalitis dying in a Gorakhpur hospital has caused much outrage about hospital mismanagement. Far more outrageous is the fact that encephalitis threatens many thousands of lives every year in Gorakhpur alone, and this in the 21st century. Read more

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