Parliamentary Panel calls for Public Health Act

The Parliamentary Standing Committee under the leadership a senior congress leader, Anand Sharma recently submitted its report, “Management of COVID-19 pandemic and related issues”. The report was submitted to the Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu. The report has recommended to set up the National Migrant Worker Database at the earliest. The committee has also recommended to frame “Public Health Act” to keep the private hospitals under check.

Public Health Act

  • The Act should contain required legal provisions to support the Government in keeping checks and control over the private hospitals. This is because there have been reports about selling of hospital beds by these private hospitals. This issue emerged as there were shortage in beds in hospitals due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The act should keep a check on black marketing of medicines and product standardisation.
  • The act should include provisions for awareness campaigns about effective and cheaper repurposed medicines.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, only the Government hospitals bore the largest share of the burden of the disease. The private hospitals were either inaccessible or not affordable. The act should address this issue. The private hospitals should have a mandatory threshold level to take in patients during pandemic.

Other Recommendations

  • The committee reported that the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has not given Emergency Use Authorisation. According to the report of the committee, trials on small animals and human trials should be mandatorily undertaken on sufficient sample size.
  • More fund should be allocated to the government hospitals to equip them strong enough to handle pandemics.
  • The Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Epidemics Diseases Act should be amended. Especially, the Epidemics Diseases Act should be amended as it is outdated. It was framed in the colonial era.
  • The Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979 should also be amended.


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