Today, the Indian government spends only about one percent of its GDP on healthcare, which is among the lowest globally for any country. Along with building highways, firing up our power plants and ensuring there is a roof over every Indian’s head, there is a need to focus on healthcare in the country.
According to the report released by Nathealth-PwC, the Out of pocket expenditure (OOPE) constitutes about 62.4% of all health expenses, a major drawback in a country like India where a large segment of the population is poor.
India still accounts for 16% of the global share of maternal deaths and 27% of global newborn deaths. Deaths continue to occur due to communicable diseases, with 22% of global TB incidence in our country.
To bridge the infrastructure gap, India will need increased participation from the private sector and for these traditional modes of healthcare funding will need to be supplemented by innovative modes funding to improve healthcare investments.
The report recommends four scaling innovative modes which should be introduced for funding Indian healthcare. These include fund of funds such as pension funds, investment route through PPP, long term debt. Report largely supports financing through pension funds which may provide access to a large pool of money. It also suggested funding through business trust entity like real estate investment trusts along with bilateral investment treaties.
It further examines the key challenges the healthcare industry is facing and the opportunities with which Indian healthcare system can overcome these challenges. “With a 22% shortage of primary health centres (PHCs) and 32% shortage of community health centres (CHCs), it is estimated that 50% of beneficiaries travel more than 100 km to access quality care. India has only 1.1 beds per 1,000 population in India compared to the world average of 2.7. Most physicians are located in urban areas, resulting in significant access issues in the rural regions,” the report read.
We need to promote quality of care with a focus on emerging diseases and invest in preventive healthcare. In turn increase access and financial protection, free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency care services at all public hospitals. Most importantly, private sector collaboration to provide financial and non-financial incentives to encourage participation.
To meet India’s escalating healthcare needs; both the public and private sector will have to join hands to build infrastructure and the skill sets required to deliver care. This means that conventional modes of healthcare funding will need to be aided by innovative modes of funding to improve healthcare investments.
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The CSR Journal Team