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Pune Speak Up: Healthcare needs a booster shot

Wednesday, 9 July 2014 - 6:58am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

The government currently spends only 1% of the GDP on health care and is considered low. There is a need for an ideal figure to bring up the health parameters of the country comparable to western levels. dna asks readers what should be the priorities of the government regarding healthcare allocation
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Citizens should fund the healthcare...
GDP of 1% for country like India is very low, it should be minimum 2.5% looking at the present need. Our government should go for a universal health care programme followed by western countries. Under the universal health care programme, every working citizen should pay some amount from their salary to the nations health care programme. The funds thus collected should be used to provide free health care to the poor and needy of the country. Likewise hospital networks should be built in the country to provide free health care facilities. We only have a medical insurance programme, which is again affordable to very few. This insurance programme is then misused by doctors and hospitals for their own benefit, due to which medical insurance companies are in trouble.For senior citizens, basic health care should be provided at home. Especially in rural areas, our present health care programmes are not satisfactory.
Dr Vinod Shah, Chairman, Janaseva Foundation & Member, Steering Committee, Planning Commission (Aging & Destitute)

Hospitals have become a nightmare...
The present health care programme carried by the government is very unsatisfactory and limited in its reach. Apart from the rich people, any kind of hospitalization cost has become a nightmare for the common man and poor people as well. The government has to work out a foolproof health care system for the country, which reaches the roots. For the rural people these health care provisions are out of reach. With the rapid changes in our lifestyle there are new diseases that our people are facing and our present government run health care system are not up-to-date to tackle these new-age diseases. Our government needs to think-over a new health care programme and obviously with just 1% GDP it is not possible.
Dr Pandurang Kulkarni, Consultant & Professor, Ayurveda

Govt should provide medical insurance...
5-6% is however the bare minimum required. There are a lot of people to be catered to and with such a small amount it is not possible. The question is whether there is a political will to see this rise. Money will have to be diverted from other sectors and health should be made the priority. Currently the health care delivery system of the government is weak and is not properly utilised either. This utilisation at the village level should be rapid, appropriate and preventive in nature. The other ways to improve the health care system would be a government provided medical insurance. The government's main focus at this point should be on the idea of prevention, and providing minimum health care cost under the universal healthcare coverage. The budget should look into the universal health coverage and have clauses that focus on health literacy along with a good accountability system.
Dr Abhay Bhang, Director, Society for Education Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH)

Slum dwellers need the priority...
The 1% spending that is allocated to the health care sector is a mockery. Even the World Health Organisation has said that it should be at least 5%. On the other hand countries across the world have a higher allocation for the health care system and that's who we should be following. I know that it will not be possible for them to increase it in one shot and therefore at least when the effort is seen even if it is just 0.5% every year we can say that we are headed somewhere. Over 48% of our population lives in slums and cannot afford the medical care provided by the private sector and these people should be the governments priority. This can be achieved through decentralization, as it will make the system more effective and competent. The coming budget should aim at providing better facilities in the government hospitals, better salaries to the doctors so that the best of them are available to treat patients.
Dr Abhijeet Vaidya, Founder and National Chief, Arogya Sena

Double the budget allocation...
Patients deserve better care and better facilities and this applies to the rich and poor. The hospitals already in place are not well equipped and neither is cleanliness maintained. Doubling the budget allocated to the health care sector is the least that can be done at this point although the bare requirement is much more. We all pay taxes and although there is a small group of people under the tax payers bracket, it is still a lot. Super specialty and specialty services are not available at all the government hospitals although they are needed frequently. Reducing the duty and taxes on equipments might help gather better facilities and amenities at the hospitals and as a result a better quality of health care. The poorest of the poor need the utmost care and at the cheapest prices.
Dr CB Koppikar, Managing Trustee, Director, Medical Services, Prashanti Cancer Care Mission

The ideal figure should be 6%...
The government currently spends only 1% of the GDP on healthcare, which is pitifully low. I believe the ideal figure should be close to about 6% if we have to bring the health parameters of the country comparable to western levels. It all depends on the priorities of the government and the state of the economy. With Modi government now in power, I am quite hopeful that the economy will be back on the track and healthcare allocation will see a drastic increase.
Shobana Kamineni, executive vice chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise

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