The healthcare system of India is struggling since independence. It is run by the Ministry of Health and Family welfare and public healthcare is divided into primary, secondary and tertiary stages. They include primary health centres, community health centres, sub divisions, district hospitals and medical colleges.
Healthcare is suffering from some major challenges. We have shortages of healthcare personnel (doctors, nurses, and medical technicians). The ratio of doctor to patient on an average is 0.62:1000 higher than the WHO recommended 1:1,000. The same ratio of some countries are as follows – Australia – 3.374:1000, Brazil – 1.852:1000, China – 1.49:1000, France – 3.227:1000, Germany – 4.125:1000, Russia – 3.306:1000, the USA – 2.554:1000, Pakistan – 0.806:1000.
The healthcare system is mixed with public and private sector. In urban areas, the concentration of private healthcare providers is higher so the balance of doctor patient is quite good while in rural areas where 75% of the total population lives and suffers more with less number of medical persons and poor infrastructure.
Government spends Rs. 1,112 annually per capita that is Rs. 93 per month on health that is less than the cost of one month mobile recharge. About 1.3% of GDP is spent on healthcare, lower than the spending ratio by some of the poorest countries of South Asia such as Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
The Indian healthcare system undergoes many major crisis or problems are as follows:
- Lack of awareness
- Dire shortage of skilled professionals in healthcare
- Poor health infrastructure
- Low level of health insurances
- Rural vs. Urban division
- Inadequate fund from the government
- Patient doctor relationship
There are some solutions to improve the problems
Government should spend more money in the healthcare like most other country does.
India has to build more medical colleges and improve the infrastructure of the current medical colleges to produce more number of doctors.
Government should promote healthcare startups and healthtech startups as startups can bring innovative solutions to India’s age-old problems and can leverage technology to bridge urban-Rural divide. There should be better and easy access to loans to the young generation for starting new startups who can work in healthcare. Some startups provide home healthcare services but we need more.
Nowadays, we often hear a doctor being bitten by the patient’s family or public mobs. Government should introduce a training course on how to improve the patient doctor relationship.
The laboratories of the hospital are running with old processes so it’s obvious the diagnostic results often get wrong. Government needs to import new technologies for the laboratories or develop indigenous technologies.
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In India hospital beds per person is too low when you visit any hospital. You can often see patients lying on the floor of any public hospital. Government should think about it and make a strategy how to increase no of beds in public hospitals.
Asif Karim who is a student of BSc in Medical Microbiology, Dehradun, writes the article. He aspires to be civil servent and contribute in national building.