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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 404-405

Addressing health sector discrimination: need of the hour


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission25-Jul-2019
Date of Decision04-Aug-2019
Date of Acceptance19-Aug-2019
Date of Web Publication27-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh Ram BihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mmj.mmj_234_19

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Addressing health sector discrimination: need of the hour. Menoufia Med J 2021;34:404-5

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Addressing health sector discrimination: need of the hour. Menoufia Med J [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 May 8];34:404-5. Available from: http://www.mmj.eg.net/text.asp?2021/34/1/404/312024



Dear Editor,

The problem of discrimination across health care settings is universal and is quite common [1]. The reported incidents of discrimination can manifest in various forms like abuse or lack of privacy and confidentiality [1]. In fact, it compromises the basic human rights and results in depriving access to health care to one individual/s, which is very much available to others [1],[2]. The available evidence suggests that marginalized population groups are more susceptible to discrimination, which is very much against the attainment of universal health coverage [2],[3]. Furthermore, the individuals have been subjected to discrimination based on the different variables (age, sex, race, nationality, disabled status, unmarried pregnancy, etc.) across heterogeneous settings [1].

There are no surprises that not only the users but also the providers are subjected to discrimination in health care settings and thus cast a significant effect on the health-seeking behavior of the local population and quality of delivered health care services [2],[4]. Simultaneously, women users and health professionals have been the victims of sex inequality and abuse as evidenced by the frequent incidents of violence, differing salary component, and no or minimal chance to participate in decision-taking activities [2],[4]. If we explore the issue in depth, it is very much strange that in many nations, even the existing policies play a significant role in the exaggeration of the problem [4].

Acknowledging the magnitude of the problem and the urgent need to respond to the same, the need of the hour is to have a concerted action, involving all the stakeholders and the concerned sectors, so that a time-bound approach can be planned and implemented [1],[3]. There is an immediate need to revisit and strengthen the existing laws to not only neutralize the discrimination in health care settings with regard to service delivery but also with regard to education, working atmosphere, and job opportunities in the health sector [3],[4]. However, the mere formulation of the same will not help, unless it is stringently implemented and periodically monitored for their translation into effective practice [3],[4].

The next important action will be through empowerment of the health professionals and users of health services by increasing awareness about their basic rights, duties, and responsibilities [3]. These sensitization sessions for health professionals should not only happen before their enrollment but also periodically, whereas for the community members, social accountability monitoring or display of a citizen charter in each of the health care establishments can be resorted [2],[4]. Furthermore, there has to be a mechanism to deal with any such violations, and provision has to be there to promote prompt remedy of the raised complaints [2],[3].

In conclusion, discrimination in health settings is one of the important public health concerns, and there is a big time need to deal with this promptly, otherwise we will fail to improve the quality of life of the people and the attainment of universal health coverage.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Campbell J, Hirnschall G, Magar V. Ending discrimination in health care settings; 2017. Available at: http://who.int/mediacentre/commentaries/discrimination-health-care/en/. [Accessed 25 July 2019].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Aiming to target gender barriers for improving the health and welfare standards of girls. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016; 9:286–287.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Joint WHO/UN Statement. Joint United Nations statement on ending discrimination in health care settings; 2017. Available at: http://who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2017/discrimination-in-health-care/en/. [Accessed 25 July 2019].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Dealing with the issues of gender inequality and aiming for the empowerment of adolescent girls. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017; 10:1423–1424.  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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