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India needs a renewed health-care system

  • IASbaba
  • July 17, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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GEOGRAPHY/ SCIENCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of health
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

India needs a renewed health-care system

Context: For any population, the availability of functional public health systems is literally a question of life and death.

Comparison of Kerala & Maharashtra

  • COVID-19 case fatality rates are 0.48% for Kerala and 2.04% for Maharashtra, despite both states having similar per capita gross State domestic product (GSDP).
  • This implies that on average, a COVID-19 patient in Maharashtra has been over four times more likely to die when compared to one in Kerala.
  • Kerala has per capita two and a half times more government doctors, and an equally higher proportion of government hospital beds when compared to Maharashtra, 
  • Kerala fund allocation on public health per capita is over one and half times higher than that of Maharashtra.
  • Despite Maharashtra having a large private health-care sector, its weak public health system has proved to be a critical deficiency.

Way Ahead

  • Arrest Decline in Funding: Since 2017-18, Union government allocations for the National Health Mission have declined in real terms. Central allocation for the National Urban Health Mission is ₹1,000 crore, which amounts to less than ₹2 per month per urban Indian. This situation must change.
  • Preventing further privatisation of the health sector: Proposals for handing over public hospitals to private operators under the ‘Viability Gap Funding’ would lead to steep increase in healthcare costs.
  • Regulation of private hospitals: Learning from stark market failures during the COVID-19 pandemic, comprehensive regulation of private health care in public interest now must be a critical agenda of government
  • Effective implementation of CEA: Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act is not effectively implemented due to a major delay in notification of central minimum standards, and failure to develop the central framework for regulation of rates. 

Connecting the dots:

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