Published On: Sat, Apr 4th, 2015

Significant rise in health expenditure urgently required, says the President

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The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Mid-Term Meet 2015 of the National Interventional Council of the Cardiological Society of India today (April 4, 2015) in New Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said a healthcare system, which is universally accessible, affordable and effective, is crucial for a developing country like India. To build such a system, we require robust healthcare infrastructure, trained and motivated personnel, and better access to medicines and equipments. There are 7 hospital beds per 10,000 population in India, compared to 23 in Brazil, 38 in China and 97 in Russia. In terms of healthcare professionals, we again lag behind the other BRIC countries. There are 7 physicians per 10,000 population in India, compared to 19 in Brazil, 15 in China and 43 in Russia. Though schemes like the National Health Mission have improved service delivery, health services in India still suffer from lack of reach and constraints of quality.

The President said India’s public expenditure on health is meagre. We fare below our BRIC peers on this count as well. India’s per capita government expenditure on health in PPP terms is US Dollar 44, as against 809 in Russia, 474 in Brazil and 236 in China. Considering that we are a sixth of humanity, a significant rise in health expenditure is urgently required to ensure universal health coverage.

The President said a health insurance mechanism that can take care of all is the need of the hour. As per estimates, about 216 million people in India or 17 percent of the population were covered under various health insurance schemes as at end-March 2014. We need to do much more to bring the uncovered population under the health security net. An insured population will also be a healthy population, which will exhibit a greater propensity to seek education, acquire knowledge and access job opportunities. Good health and fitness of the people will truly be a reflection of our country’s progress.

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