Can healthcare be accessible & affordable: Experts discuss

 

Moneycontrol  | 21 November 2012

 

The Indian healthcare sector which is clocking a growth rate of 20 percent is expected to touch the USD 100 billion mark by 2015 from the current level of USD 65 billion. It is little wonder that this sector seems to be on everybody’s radar. It seems to attract lots of investments from the existing players, new players besides of course attracting the much needed foreign direct investment.

 

With potential growth prospects one is also witnessing a flurry of activities on the merger and acquisition (M&A) front. All these investments are crucial to boost healthcare infrastructure which is grossly inadequate to meet demand.

 

Currently India has 13000 hospitals catering to population of one billion plus people and that is woefully inadequate but what makes it pathetic is the doctors and hospital bed ratio. It currently stands at 0.6 doctors and 0.9 hospital bed for every 1000 people.

 

In case of nurses and paramedics, the scene is no different. By 2020 the country would meet 2.5 million nurses from the current level of 8 lakh nurses, which is not a healthy picture. This demand supply mismatch has led to cost of healthcare in India getting increasingly prohibitive and this at a time when the country is battling diseases like diabetes, heat ailments, cancer, respiratory problems and Alzheimer’s.

 

The greater brunt of this problem is faced by rural Indian which faces 60 percent shortage of doctors. National Rural Healh Mission saw a 13 percent increase in the rural budget allocation. However it is still insufficient to cater to the growing needs of the rural population. Hospitals have tried to bridge the demand-supply gap by adopting telemedicine but still a lot of ground needs to be covered.

 

The silver lining for healthcare has come from the government’s 12 th plan outlay. During the 12th plan period 2012-2017, the government has decided to increase health expenditure to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product from the current level of 1.4 percent. On the face of it this number is very low compared to countries like US where the health care spending constitutes 18 percent of GDP. But it is a good start experts say.

 

In such a scenario what kind of strategy does this sector need to put in place so as to make healthcare accessible and affordable teaming millions?

 

 

To discus this TiE Delhi-NCR and the Omidiyar Network have organized the “Affordable Healthcare Summit” on Friday, November 30, 2012 – 8:30am – 5:00pm at New Delhi.

 

Speakers at the Summit include Arun Maira, Nachiket Mor, Anil Swarup, David Bangsberg, Asif Saleh, Ajay Pitre, Sangita Reddy and Ravi Kaushik among others.

 

For the complete event agenda and registration details, click here

 

To watch another recent discussion about affordable healthcare, click here

 

 This article has been edited for the purpose of this Blog. You can read the original article here

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