May 11, 2011

Government Calls Binayak Sen to Draw Health Plan

New Delhi: Months after he was charged with sedition and aiding Maoists, Dr Binayak Sen is among eminent health sector experts called in to draw up India’s health policy for the 12th Plan (2012-17). Sen, a rights activist and a pediatrician working with tribal in Chhattisgarh, will be on the Planning Commission’s steering committee on health.

"I’m delighted to hear the news, though I have no intimation of such a development,” Sen told HT over the phone when reached for comments on Tuesday. Sen said he would take a call on joining the panel after consulting his colleagues. The committee’s brief includes review of national health situation and policy and and exploring possibility of adopting a right to health approach — advocated by Sen in a recent issue of Lancet. "I do not think it is recognition of my work but a reminder of the work that needs to be done,” he said.

Sen’s nomination to the country’s highest planning body, which works under the Prime Minister, comes just weeks after the Supreme Court granted him bail in a sedition case. Sen works closely with the Jan Swasthya Sahayog, the Indian unit of Peoples’ Health Support Group worldwide.

(By Prasad Nichenametla, Hindustan Times, May 11, 2011)

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