The public healthcare ecosystem in India leaves immense scope for development, without a doubt. In this regard, taking a leaf out of the best practices adopted in other developing nations such as Mexico, or for that matter South Asian countries like Vietnam and Malaysia, would prove to be beneficial for India, which can look forward to making the most of the available resources while delivering value to a broad spectrum of the population.
The GDP contribution with focus on healthcare in India: A key pillar for national growth
Take the case of Mexico, every medium to large city has at least one first-rate hospital. In fact, the cost of healthcare in Mexico is considered generally half or less than what an individual might expect to pay in the US, this includes prescription drugs as well. The Centennial Care 2.0 in Mexico is aimed at implementing new, targeted initiatives to address specific gaps in healthcare and improve outcomes for its most vulnerable citizens.
On the other hand, apart from encouraging the private sector, a country like Vietnam is also requiring healthcare facilities at central and provincial levels to help scale up the capacity of those at the district and commune levels. The country’s policy focuses on technical skills transfer with the key objective to reduce the stress of those at higher-level hospitals.
Similarly, the Malaysian healthcare system remains advanced due to extensive support from the government through investment in hospital’s medical infrastructure. The improvements in the last decade or so are significant enough to be on par with well-developed countries, comprising both well-trained medical staff and excellent hospital facilities.
In the Indian context, however, despite considerable economic growth in the past few years, the country’s spending on healthcare hovers at a mere 1.26% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is way below than any of the developing nations mentioned above, resulting in serious supply-side deficits of facilities and medical professionals.
However, in a recent development, the 15th Finance Commission (FC)’s recommendations on health, accepted by the Centre in its action-taken report, have put forward many first-time financial and non-financial measures to re-prioritise public health expenditure to reach a targeted 2.5% of GDP by 2025. As per the recommendations of the 15th FC, a considerable portion of federal healthcare grants will for the first time be routed through urban local bodies, or municipalities, and, at the rural level, through panchayats. This may prove to be a step in the right direction if implemented at the ground level.
By: Ms Ashvini Danigond is Founder & CEO, Manorama Infosolutions Pvt Ltd (MIPL)