The world’s second most populous country is currently facing a triple-disease burden of maternal and child health, infectious and non-communicable diseases. Despite significant efforts, India has been unable to provide affordable healthcare solutions to the masses. With India being the third-largest economy in the world, it isn’t being able to deliver world-class healthcare services to the 800 million people residing in the rural areas.
Fiinovation, a global CSR consulting company, suggests that India’s tax-based funding of healthcare is not adequate and barely support the healthcare system. India annually spends approximately Rs 6 trillion on healthcare to cater to 1.3 billion population. With an experience of over eight years in health projects, Fiinovation understands that over 60 per cent of healthcare expenditure in India is being incurred by individuals themselves. Indians usually spend a lot of money on healthcare services.
Indians have the innate tendency to ignore health issues until we are really sick. This is the reason why Indians don’t opt for health insurances. The health insurance covers less than 5 per cent of total health expenditure. Apart from this, formal private network is a small portion of India’s health sector. The people usually suffer due to such circumstances and spend heavily on hospitals, completely ignoring primary care and early diagnosis.
Understanding the situation, Fiinovation believes the sector needs a complete revamp to achieve the health targets of the nation. Like several other countries, India too needs to on taking the path of free markets and build high-performing health systems. There needs to be a push towards health insurance. Countries, such as Japan, Britain, Germany and Thailand have given a lot of emphasis on providing universal health coverage. Fiinovation believes that the government will play a crucial role in designing and supervising the entire health system of the country, instead of just focusing on state-owned hospitals and public health centers.
Equally, the private sector should join hands with the government, take cognizance of the loopholes and establish an effective healthcare system in the country along with mechanisms for early diagnosis and universal health insurance coverage. If adequate healthcare services are provided in the rural areas, it will reduce the burden of hospitals and clinics in the urban areas. A lot of lives can also be saved, if facilities for early detection and diagnosis are available. With health being a favourable sector for CSR expenditures in the country, businesses should definitely look to organise health camps and provide other infrastructural facilities to curb the prevailing health problems in India. There has always been a need to spread more awareness about the preventive measures of diseases.
At present, it seems to be an uphill task for India, however, countries such as Thailand, Brazil and South Korea had similar health statistics which they managed to turn around in the last two-three decades. India can take note from these countries and start planning for re-designing the healthcare system of India.
By Rahul Choudhury
Media & Communications, Fiinovation