Many of the people that I spoke to in the shacklands of Johannesburg and Durban said something that resonated with what I hear from the poor in Indian villages. When I asked why they didn’t go to the public hospital next door and instead chose to go to a private clinic, they would say they don’t feel respected in the public hospital and do not get dignified attention. This is exactly what I hear from the poor in India, who would often take loans they can’t easily repay to be able to visit a private clinic when they could have received the same drugs from a doctor in a public hospital. The questions of respect and dignity are often overlooked but they are fundamental. Struggling for this crucial aspect of quality of healthcare in our public facilities is a key challenge for health rights activists.
Three immigrant women who say they were punished for joining a hunger strike in a Texas family detention center on Thursday sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and GEO Group, the company that operates the facility. The lawsuit, filed in federal court against ICE Director Sarah Saldaña and personnel at the Karnes County Residential Center, seeks to prohibit ICE and GEO from putting women and their children in isolation as punishment for protesting, and from threatening to separate mothers from their children. “All we’re asking is that under the First Amendment, for ICE officials and GEO officials to stop retaliating against the women and allow them to peacefully protest,” said Ranjana Natarajan, an attorney with the University of Texas Civil Rights Clinic, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the women.