Dinesh Trivedi says that India has all the necessary resources to deal with country’s myriad health challenges but lacks effective planning. Not surprisingly, even after six decades of independence, the healthcare situation of the nation remains pretty dismal. While the country continues to struggle with a poor health infrastructure including shortage of trained personnel, the government’s low priority vis-à-vis the sector and lack of concerted efforts haven’t helped the matters.
The former union Rail Minister in an exclusive Zara Hat Ke chat with Zee Media anchor Mimansa Malik dwelt at length on India’s dismal health picture and made a fervent appeal to focus on gains. Apart from the requisite government intervention at various levels, Trivedi believes that a mindset change at the level of the people could drastically alter the scenario. What it requires is strong will and a commitment to the change.
For starters, the abysmal doctor-to-population ratio of India must change, which at present stands at 1:2000, according to the World Health Statistics Report 2013. Against a global average of 14.2, the physician density of India per 10,000 population stands poorly at 6.5. India’s nursing and midwifery density of 10 per 10,000 of population is not even half the global average of 28.1. The worst indicator of healthcare in India comes with the density of hospital beds per 10,000 population, which stands at nine against a global average of 30.
India lacks skilled health personnel. Concurring with the above view, Trivedi, told #bbv on Zee Media, “There should be more medical colleges to meet the shortage of manpower in the country. However, parameters for setting up of medical colleges should be modified. Courses should be upgraded and one needs to relax the criteria at the entry level in medical colleges.”
Trivedi pitched for private sector involvement at the district level to provide healthcare services at an affordable price. He said that the inclination of the government should be to promote the nexus of private and public sector hospitals at the grass roots to tackle the gloomy health situation.
“The main problem with the government hospitals is that there is no accountability,” lamented Trivedi.
On being asked why the health sector is so unregulated, Trivedi replied that there is no proper outline and plan which makes the sector unorganised.
Corruption is yet another woe. Supporting the view, Trivedi told #bbv, “People who can really serve others selflessly should join this sector. There should be a watchdog to monitor the functioning of healthcare activities in the country which itself should be free from corruption.”
Higher medical insurance premiums haven’t helped the matters.
“The penetration of health insurance density can be increased only when the premium amount is very less and is affordable,” further added Trivedi.
According to the health ministry estimates, the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India is recorded at 212 and the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) stands at 44 respectively. Highlighting the reasons behind high MMR and IMR in India, Trivedi said, “Poor hygiene and unavailability of safe drinking water are the main reasons behind maternal and infant deaths in India.”
Offering solutions to check the problem of dull health scenario in the country, Trivedi in his Zara HatKe #bbv interview said, “Compulsory posting of doctors in rural areas is required. Proper water management is the need of the hour. Health care personnel should be motivated to perform their duties selflessly. Also, monitoring and auditing of all healthcare institutions is required to overcome the current scenario.”
(The show airs on Tuesday@10 pm)