New Delhi (ISJ) ? Exactly after 41 days of his promise to the nation that his 'government is committed to providing affordable and accessible healthcare to all its citizens?, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday (April 04), lamented about the 'meagre' public expenditure on health. The Union Budget 2015-16, presented in Parliament by Finance Minister, instead saw lower budgetary allocation to healthcare by about 6% from the previous year's expenditure.
"India?s public expenditure on health is meagre. We fare below our BRIC peers on this count as well. India's per capita government expenditure on health in PPP terms is US Dollar 44, as against 809 in Russia, 474 in Brazil and 236 in China,' said Mukherjee addressing the National Interventional Council of the Cardiological Society of India in New Delhi. "Considering that we are a sixth of humanity, a significant rise in health expenditure is urgently required to ensure universal health coverage.
Healthcare in India still is a distant dream for a sizeable number of the population. According to World Health Organisation, WHO, 39 million Indians are pushed to poverty due to ill-health every year. Worse, according to the WHO report, around 30 per cent in rural India do not go for any treatment due to financial constraints.
"Though schemes like the National Health Mission have improved service delivery, health services in India still suffer from lack of reach and constraints of quality," rued the President. "Costly medical treatments effectively deny cure to those who cannot afford. In India, out-of-pocket expenditure comprises 86 percent of private expenditure on health. Due to lack of financial risk protection, many in our country plunge into poverty fighting ailments and bearing high costs of treatment."
In a country like India where lifestyle-related diseases have shown a rising trend, precautionary strategies have become important. Our healthcare sector has to be equipped to not only treat people but also guide them about prevention of medical conditions. It calls for developing expertise to undertake counselling to foster healthy living, said the President.
Image courtesy: PIB