Headwinds halt healthcare
Editorial

Headwinds halt healthcare

The nation’s economic health and bodily health of its population are usually assessed and rated in a disjointed approach in various circles and by different agencies although they mutually impact each other. Even the oft-declared information that the government’s outlay on public health is far too small, stated as about three percent of the land’s Gross Domestic Product, connects the wellness of the country’s economy and that of its masses in a diffused manner. The other information, not taken with the seriousness it merits namely, the ratio of doctors with even basic degree in medicine to the country’s population is nowhere near the norm prescribed by World Health Organisation (WHO) tends to remain unaltered, if not getting worse. Ranking India among the top countries for its pharma industry and estimating the money worth of India’s healthcare industry in astronomical figures should not prompt anybody to be complacent about wellness of the nation’s people at large. The gradually growing number of hospitals across the land in private management, most of them getting equipped with state-of-the-art tools of diagnosis and treatment provide a yawning contrast with their counterparts in government management in respect of both tariffs and service.

While funds needed to meet the expenses on government hospitals are drawn from the treasury, the privately managed hospitals have to earn their financial resource. To expect those hospitals created with heavy investments to provide medical service at unviable tariffs doesn’t make business sense. The implications of fixing the charges of treatment in private hospitals are loud and clear.

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Thanks to the dominating presence of hospitals with large number of wards as well as beds to nurse the patients with allopathic medicines by doctors with degrees in medicine and surgery drawn from the West, all the indigenous systems of healthcare have witnessed both weak government support and marginal public patronage. Well-marked lawmakers as well as others in VIP class seeking medical attention abroad, as reported frequently in the media, throws up questions of competence of the land’s medical practitioners, more importantly, the question of poor upkeep of the premises of government hospitals, barring rare exceptions.

Talking endlessly on high tariffs for medical services in private hospitals with facilities matching global standards and sidelining of the poor sections needing medicare amounts to tokenism. If the people, particularly the economically weaker sections, are enabled to keep their living spaces sanitised and stick to foods that don’t hurt their wellness, the nation will be strong enough to counter the headwinds halting healthcare.

August 6, 2018

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