Recent incident of Gorakhpur has put a question on Indian healthcare system and the policy of the government. If the government is unable to provide basic healthcare to its citizens, then what shall we expect more?
The Incident that Shook the Soul of India
It didn’t take more than few minutes and 30 young lives were lost because the state machinery was unable to provide oxygen to the young kids who were suffering from Japanese Encephalitis. It may shock anyone to the bottom that since 1978, 25000 kids have lost their life and till now the state and its machinery had founded no solution for it. This is not an isolated case as the same situation can be witnessed at every occasion. The truth is that the Indian healthcare system is an utter failure.
Callous Approach towards Healthcare
India spends only 1.4% of its total GDP on health at present while it uses to spend 0.22% in the 50s. It clearly shows that not much has been done to ensure better healthcare. On the other hand, the private healthcare systems have some quality but they are too expensive to be afforded by middle class people and especially the poor. The average expenditure around the world for healthcare is 5.9% of the GDP and India is far behind it. According to the figure of OECD, India spends less than $1000 on a person annually, which is the lowest of all. The United States spends $8713 on one person per year.
The problem is not only less expenditure towards healthcare but poor management of resources. There is no standard infrastructure in rural India while most of the public hospitals in towns have poor service and worst infrastructure. There is sanitation problem, shortage of doctors and nurses, inadequate medical assistance, corruption and callous approach towards the patient.
A Reform needed to fix the Problem
India is in desperate need of reform that can fix these grave problems. India can take lessons from other countries that have excellent healthcare services. Only 2% of doctors reside in rural India where 68% of the population lives. The lack of proper Infrastructure, lack of basic healthcare tools, medicines, medical instruments, machines, ambulance, hospital, diagnostic system and doctors is something that we need to fix. India can learn from United States that spends nearly 18% of its GDP on Healthcare and services which is highest in the world. United States was able to solve all the problems that India is currently facing.
Although Modi has taken initiative to put a cap on stent and knee implant surgery prices, one thing that certainly needs to be done is to increase the expenditure on healthcare and push reforms that can transform the current system because even money can’t make changes if the approach of the system remains the same.