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In this episode of the “First Opinion Podcast,” reporter and editor Kalpana Jain details how India got to today’s crisis with Covid-19. Although some blame hypernationalism, she calls on her two decades of writing about health and health care for the Times of India to show that the real issue is neglect of the health sector during India’s growth and development.

One of Jain’s early stories on the health beat involved an investigation into how long patients with heart problems waited in line to see a physician. Neglect of the health care system tends to more strongly affect poorer families in rural areas who lack access to critical care facilities — and sometimes even to basic primary care. Having covered multiple pandemics and epidemics, Jain says that she’s seen the toll it can take on families. In some ways, Covid-19 is different, she says. But in others it’s heartbreakingly the same.

The conversation was based on Jain’s recent First Opinion, “India’s Covid-19 catastrophe reflects years of neglecting its health system.

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