What is the current Scenario of the Health Care Sector of India? What are the major concerns? How to use India’s huge potential in the health sector to rectify the problems? Read further to know more about Health Sector in India.
The Constitution considers the “Right to Life” to be essential, and the government is required to protect everyone’s “Right to Health.”
The healthcare industry in India includes hospitals, medical tourism, health insurance, medical equipment, telemedicine, outsourcing, clinical trials, and medical gadgets.
The public and private sectors make up the two main components of India’s healthcare delivery system.
The Scenario of the Health Care Sector in India
Let us look at an overview of the current healthcare sector in India
The government, or public healthcare system, concentrates on establishing primary healthcare centres (PHCs) in rural areas while maintaining a small number of secondary and tertiary care facilities in major cities. The majority of secondary, tertiary, and quaternary care facilities are run by the private sector.
India has 1.3 beds per 1,000 people, 0.5 pharmacists per 1,000 people, and 0.8 physicians per 1,000 people, which are all less than half the global average.
Quality of Health Care Services
India is ranked 145th out of 180 nations in terms of the accessibility and quality of healthcare, according to the Economic Survey (Global Burden of Disease Study 2016)
To achieve an ideal doctor-to-population ratio of 1:1000 by 2030, India will require an additional 2 million doctors.
Despite having 17% of the world’s population, India bears a disproportionately large portion of the global disease burden (20%).
India’s public healthcare spending was 2.1% of GDP in 2021–2022, up from 1.8% in 2020–2021, according to the Economic Survey of 2022.
Challenges in Health Sector
Although India’s healthcare sector has made significant progress in terms of health indicators, it still has some serious flaws in service delivery due to inadequate healthcare infrastructure.
Insufficient access to basic healthcare services to all, due to a shortage of medical professionals, a lack of quality assurance, and insufficient health spending.
One of the major concerns is the administration’s lack of financial resources and insufficient funding for research and development.
India’s government will only spend 2.1% of its GDP on healthcare in 2021–22, compared to 10% for Japan, Canada, and France.
No focus on Preventive Care
Despite being shown to be quite beneficial in alleviating a variety of difficulties for patients in terms of unhappiness and financial losses, preventive care is undervalued in India.
Shortage of Medical Workforce
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are in short supply in India. According to a minister’s study presented in Parliament, India is short 600,000 doctors.
Lack of Infrastructure
Private hospitals are expensive, whereas Government hospitals are either inadequate or lacking in basic facilities for the Indian population.
The concept of health insurance is still unclear in India, and the market is underdeveloped.
Policymaking is undeniably important in providing effective and efficient healthcare services. The problem in India is one of supply rather than demand, and policy can help.
Potential in Health Care Sector in India
Despite the challenges, there were opportunities. The Indian healthcare system has a unique opportunity to advance while taking stock of the past and getting ready for the future while keeping the welfare of its people in mind.
According to Aspire Circle, the Indian healthcare sector is expected to reach $744 billion by 2030, driven by greater access to insurance, better health awareness, lifestyle diseases, and rising income.
As part of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), the digital Health ID will be introduced, which will save patient data. It would aid in effective policymaking, and private firms would benefit from a competitive advantage in the market introduction of innovative technology.
With the advent of information technology and big data, it would be simple for private players to spend strategically.
The abundance of highly qualified medical personnel in India is a competitive advantage. With 4.7 million workers as of 2021, the Indian healthcare industry is one of the country’s largest employers.
From 0.83 million in 2010 to 1.3 million in November 2021, the number of allopathic doctors with recognised medical qualifications (under the I.M.C Act) registered with state medical councils/national medical council
India’s costs are competitive with those of its countries in Asia and the West. Surgery in India costs roughly a tenth of what it does in the US or Western Europe.
Two vaccines Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Oxford-Covishield, AstraZeneca’s both made by SII were critical in protecting the Indian population from COVID-19.
India has emerged as a hub for R&D activities for international players due to its relatively low cost of clinical research.
With the help of the government and private stakeholders, a climate conducive to start-ups and entrepreneurship can be created in this field.
Hub of Medical Tourism
India is already one of the world’s most popular medical tourism destinations, and this industry has significant potential in the coming years.
The low cost of medical services has resulted in a rise in the country’s medical tourism, attracting patients from across the world.
India possesses all the necessary factors for this industry to grow rapidly, including a sizable population, a strong pharmaceutical and medical supply chain, more than 750 million smartphone users, the third-largest global start-up pool with simple access to Venture Capital funding, and innovative tech entrepreneurs looking to address global healthcare issues.
Measures Required in the Health Sector
These are the following major measures for improving the health sector in India:
- Strengthening the Infrastructure: Because of India’s large population, there is an urgent need to improve the infrastructure of public hospitals, which are overburdened.
- Encourage Private Hospitals: The government should support private hospitals because they contribute significantly to the Indian Health sector. The challenges are severe and cannot be addressed solely by the government, the private sector must also participate with Government for the public good.
- Increased efficiency: More medical personnel must be hired in order to improve the sector’s capabilities and efficiency.
- Utilization of Technology: Technology must be used to connect the dots in the health system. Medical devices in hospitals and clinics, mobile health apps, wearables, and sensors are just a few examples of technology that should be considered.
- Improving Mental Health Care Services: Increasing financing for mental health services, educating healthcare professionals on how to effectively treat mental health issues, and lowering the stigma attached to mental illness are all part of improving mental health services.
- Addressing the Root Causes of Health Disparities: To address the social determinants of health and reduce overall health inequities, the healthcare system should collaborate with other sectors, such as education, housing, and sanitation.
- Sustainable Health governance: To promote more effective and efficient healthcare services, sustainable health governance may involve implementing better management systems, bolstering healthcare regulatory organisations, and developing independent oversight mechanisms.
- Make Public Awareness: People should be made aware of the value of early detection and prevention. It would also help them save money on out-of-pocket expenses.
- One Health Approach: The need for communal health programmes that address a healthy environment, healthy animals, and healthy people is urgent. This is known as the “one health approach,” and it aims to address these connections between human and animal health.
Also read: Medical Device Sector in India
Major Steps Taken by the Government
Despite the fact that health is a state issue, the Central Government assists state governments in providing health services through a variety of primary, secondary, and tertiary care systems.
In the Union Budget 2023-24:
- Rs. 89,155 crore was allocated to the health sector, an increase of over 13% from the previous budget.
- Allocated Rs. 6835 crore for establishing 22 new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
- Additionally, the National Health Mission’s budget allocation increased from Rs. 28,974 crore in the preceding years to Rs. 29,085 crore in the current 2023–24 budget.
- Budgetary support for the National Digital Health Mission increased from the previous year’s Rs. 140 crore to the current Rs. 341 crore.
- The funds allotted for autonomous bodies were also scaled up, going from Rs. 10,348 crore in the previous budgeted allocation to Rs. 17,322 crore at the moment.
In order to promote medical tourism in the country, the government of India is extending the e-medical visa facility to the citizens of 156 countries.
Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi introduced the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission in September 2021. The endeavour will link the digital health solutions of hospitals across the country. Every citizen will now have access to a digital health ID, and their medical records will be safeguarded online.
In July 2021, the Ministry of Tourism established the ‘National Medical & Wellness Tourism Board’ to promote medical and wellness tourism in India.
In July 2021, the Union Cabinet approved the continuation of the National Ayush Mission, responsible for the development of traditional medicines in India, as a centrally sponsored scheme until 2026.
In July 2021, the Union Cabinet approved the MoU between India and Denmark on cooperation in health and medicine. The agreement will focus on joint initiatives and technology development in the health sector, with the aim of improving public health status of the population of both countries.
India is a land full of opportunities for Health Care and Services. Along with being one of the top places for high-end diagnostic services, the nation has made significant capital investments in advanced diagnostic facilities to serve a larger proportion of the population.
Future demand for healthcare services is anticipated to increase due to factors such as advancing income levels, an ageing population, rising health awareness, and shifting attitudes toward preventative healthcare.
A comprehensive strategy is required to address issues in India’s healthcare industry. This necessitates active collaboration between all stakeholders, including the public, private, and individual sectors.
In 2023, India’s approach to social determinants of health (SDH) could be consolidated and expanded. As a major economic pillar, India must now maintain its existing interest in strategic health policy.
Article written by: Aryadevi E S