That health, education and various other public services are distributed unfairly is not new for human societies; the level of unfairness however appears to be on the increase. This is indeed counter-intuitive, given the last few decades’ strides in economic progress and even improved average lifespan and improving access to health globally. Despite widespread feeling that inequalities in health or healthcare distribution is explained by chance or by other proximate explanations such as distance or wealth, the “causes of the causes” are invariably lying within social factors (see my recent TedX talk on health as a matter of chance, or of choice). Continue reading →
I was recently invited to speak at a TEDx event organised by a school in Hyderabad. Given my research interests on health equity, I chose to build my talk around a foundational element of public health itself: what makes one healthy, is it a matter of chance (for eg. through genes), or by choice (through specific “healthy” behavioural choices, one “chooses”).
Caring for a chronically ill family member is physically and emotionally taxing. I have seen in such situations people struggling with questions on the larger meaning/purpose of life, death, well-being, happiness and such. The very capacity to love and empathize (either oneself or our loved ones) get tested in such situations. I have heard single mothers working daily wages asking if their severely disabled and mentally ill children can be assisted to die… I have also heard parents in extreme poverty lament caring for a severely mentally ill child. These provoke questions at various levels ranging from what is the role of the onlooker/health worker in such situations to the larger question of who’s to blame and whom to hold accountable for such a pathetic situation that some households find themselves in. Is it not largely due to failure of systems and services. Is it just by pure chance that these situations are more taxing in poorer and disadvantaged households?