Never ever in her wildest of dreams had health worker Varshaben Thakor imagined that she would one day deliver the keynote address on foreign shores on such important subject as healthcare and health insurance for women.
On January 26,Thakor she addressed a gathering of 800 delegates from 81 countries in Hong Kong,sharing her experience of 11 years as a SEWA health worker.
Thakor,who hails from Navapura village of Daskroi taluka in Ahmedabad district,is the first woman from her village to go abroad. From a farm labourer,she has graduated to becoming a board member of National Insurance VimoSEWA Cooperative,said Mirai Chatterjee,director of SEWA Social Security.
Thakor was at home in the foreign land when she delivered her keynote address in Gujarati through power point presentation and which was translated simultaneously in English,Chatterjee said.
I emphasised on the fact that unless and until people became proactive and cooperate with authorities in getting various healthcare schemes implemented,any amount of government funds would remain useless, Thakor said. The participants keenly learnt from our experience in spreading awareness about importance of preventive steps in handling illness rather than waiting for things to go out of control.
Chatterjee,on her part,presented Indias draft plan for universal healthcare prepared jointly with Dr Srinath Reddy,chairman of high-level expert group on the subject appointed by the Planning Commission.
She said the draft plan included issuance of smart cards to people at all levels to get primary,secondary and tertiary healthcare and drugs free of cost,according to local priorities varying from state to state. She said if the proposals in the report were accepted,the outlay for healthcare in the next plan period would double from the present 1.2 per cent of GDP to 2.5 per cent of GDP. She said the Prime Ministers Office was studying the recommendations as of now.