May Day: Healthcare for All
May 1, 2021
On May Day 2021, we look back at some of the historic workers' struggles which fought for Healthcare, not as a privilege of the 'profitable' few, but a right for the toiling majority. Today, when the Covid-19 pandemic has been made more catastrophic by putting profits over people, we look back at the struggles which won us the dream of the Right to Health, as a right for all.
Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha's struggles in the 1970-80s imagined a workers movement that wasn't confined to the factorie. The Shaheed Hospital was built after a pregnant woman comrade died before reaching the hospital. It was an unique experiment where trained doctors joined with workers to educate them in basic healthcare management.
People's Polyclinics were set up to carry forward the buried dreams of the Telangana land struggle when landlords and governments cared little for ordinary workers. It continues to provide affordable healthcare across the state, showing that quality healthcare has nothing to do with private investment.
ASHA workers are at the frontline, not only during COVID-19 but for regular childhood and maternal healthcare in anganwadis as well. Yet, they refuse to be recognised even as 'workers' (condescendingly called volunteers) by the government. This has led to militant struggles in recent years.
Nurses and doctors worldwide have struggled to be recognised for their crucial contribution to running our world. Better protected health workers doesn't only make their life easier but also ensures a democratic say over how our health systems will run.