GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY/ SOCIETY
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
- 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