COVID-19: Role of Private Sector

  • IASbaba
  • April 16, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Topic: General Studies 2 & 3:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors 
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 
  • The role of NGOs, SHGs and various groups 

COVID-19: Role of Private Sector

Context: COVID-19, has spiralled into a global pandemic in less than 90 days, bringing most of the world to a near standstill.

Do You Know?

  • In India, private hospitals, clinics and nursing homes provide over 70% of healthcare.
  • Over half of all treatments under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) are availed from private providers, accounting for over 60% of total disbursements.

What has been the strategy to tackle COVID-19 till now?

  • It has been a whole-of-government approach with little role played by private sector
  • Much of COVID-19 testing and treatment is being done in public facilities
  • However, as the pandemic progresses we might need a whole-of-society response

A case for whole-of-society approach

  • Huge Country: Government needs to enlist the support of private players to manage the crisis situation in a vast & diverse country like India 
  • Effective: According to the WHO, a critical lesson from the 2014-16 West African Ebola epidemic was that both the public and private sector need to work in tandem in responding to large-scale epidemics.
  • Creating a large and accessible testing infrastructure as the epidemic spreads means more private sector participation
    • Testing has been included under the AB PM-JAY.
    • India has opened testing up to private labs but need to substantially expand on this.
  • Private sector needed to ramp up production of essential medical products — from testing kits, masks and other PPEs to oxygen and ventilators – as epidemic spreads
  • Augment Public Healthcare Capacity: Private hospitals needs to be converted into COVID-19-only hospitals as government hospitals in India are limited
  • Treatment of non-COVID-19 patients: Private sector can pitch in especially when government hospitals are focused heavily on tackling COVID-19
  • Support for community activities such as night shelters and community kitchens should be strengthened through private sector participation
  • Filling of the knowledge gaps- Government, private and not-for-profit research institutions need to collaborate to understand the nature of virus and develop necessary cure/vaccines

Way Ahead

  • Empanelling additional health facilities under PM-JAY to provide emergency care and treatment for other serious illnesses to all citizens, particularly the poor and vulnerable
  • Direct support from banks to private sector to keep production and supply chains running

Connecting the dots:

  • Gandhiji’s Trusteeship Model
  • Challenges with respect to NGOs in India

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