Let's have a look at our health policy from the point of view of common man, and a bit of common sense.
In the public hospitals, the situation is below par with infrastructural woes, insensitive doctors, low-quality equipments and machines, procrastinating attitude – overall the quality issue is badly affected. Those who are going to public hospitals are going there more out of helplessness than choice. A large chunk of their patients includes people from rural areas, dalits, tribals and other below poverty line patients.
Because of free and low-cost treatment, the horde of patients present at public hospitals is difficult to handle leading to an unimaginable mess.
JP Nadda, our Health Minister, believes that our new health policy aims to shape health system in all its dimensions by investing in preventive healthcare, to developing human resources, encouraging medical pluralism and building knowledge for better health, financial protection and regulation. He says the policy will focus on four aspects – first being prevention of diseases, promoting good health, assuring quality including primary care to all, second being making affordable healthcare available to all, thirdly empowering citizens and providing quality patient care and the fourth being, fully utilizing the power of India's innovation, technology and ICT capability.
Compare this with our swanky private hospitals, where the treatment is high quality and swift, where care and concern is at high pedestal. But their high charges extraordinaire are not everyone's cup of tea. It's a rich man's arena!
When contacted, Geet Saurabh, Asst. Manager, HR LNCT Group said "since it's a question of someone's life people try to get treatment from private hospitals. The lacklustre attitude of public hospitals is leading to more and more private hospitals coming up, which is good in a way.'
Let's have a look at the health related facts of India. Every year 45,000 women die during childbirth, 2,20,000 people die of tuberculosis each year and 43.5% of children below the age of 5 are malnourished which is even higher than sub-Saharan countries. The three biggest killer diseases in India are non-communicable diseases like Heart Disease (12 Lacs), Lung Disease (10 Lacs) and Stroke (9 Lacs). And this is where the focus is needed.
In India, the out of pocket pay is one of the highest with patients paying almost 70% from their pockets while remaining being covered by insurance or government hospitals. To curb all these ailments, the government is making an effort to increase the healthcare GDP from 2 to 2.5 percent, so as to improve the overall quality of healthcare in public domains.
The most important aspect of this policy is - it emphasizes on the aspect of mixing up private and public sector so that affordable health becomes a reality for everyone. Interestingly, the policy is also in alignment with World Health Organisation directives which says that countries should follow an insurance model which allows everyone to access primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare without being concerned about the financial aspect. If properly implemented, the policy will provide healthcare access to millions of poor households, reduce poverty, curb dangerous spending on healthcare and control out of the pocket expenses which may even mean life savings for Below Poverty Line people.
Let's hope for a healthy India.