In India, 80% doctors serving only 28% of the population – Report
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Healthcare system urban centric, better rural facilities needed
In India, 60 pc hospitals, 75 pc dispensaries and 80 pc doctors are located in urban areas providing service to only 28 pc of the country’s population, says a report by Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) released on Saturday.
The healthcare system in India has grown leaps in past few years, but it has been predominantly urban centric, making it difficult for its rural population, accounting for more than two third of the total, to access healthcare facilities.
With a special highlight, the report mentions that India’s total healthcare expenditure at about 4.1 pc of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is among the lowest in the world, making it difficult for the country, especially in rural areas, to develop its healthcare infrastructures.
Due to lack of proper and balanced healthcare system in the country, India ranks at 112 in the world of healthcare as per the World Health Organization (WHO).
The report also points out that due to lack of the awareness, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in India has emerged as one of the foremost public health challenges accounting for nearly 60 pc of deaths and uncountable cases of disability.
It is estimated that this ever-increasing NCD burden can cost India nearly USD 5 trillion due to loss of productivity by 2030, states OPPI study.
One bed for every 1,050 patients
The report further quoted some poor healthcare indices for India like the life expectancy rate (68 years in 2015), which is amongst the lowest in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group nations.
In rural India, only 37 pc of people have access to In-Patient Department (IPD) facilities within a 5 km distance and only 68 pc have access to an Out-Patient Department (OPD).
India also has the lowest number of physicians per 10,000 people among BRICS countries and one bed for every 1,050 patients, the report revealed.
Healthcare system needs a holistic approach
Increasing awareness and educating the masses on hygiene, preventive health measures, timely diagnosis and, above all, the importance of completing doctor prescribed treatment have to be prioritized, the report suggests.
“India’s healthcare strategy requires a holistic approach and a critical evaluation of our existing systems,” said Shailesh Ayyangar, President, OPPI.In rural India, nearly 63 million people are in debt due to health expenditure and almost a third of Indian population is driven below the poverty line due to health expenses”, reads the report.
To strengthen its healthcare system, the Government of India has made significant inroads resulting in strong awareness in the urban areas but the need of the hour demands further strength among the poor and rural population.