Indian health sector poised for 'next revolution': Dr. Harsh Vardhan

Health Insurance Summit 2808New Delhi (ISJ) ? Indian Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, NDA government's plan for Universal Health Assurance (UHA) would trigger the 'next revolution' in health sector, similar to the mobile telephone revolution. Addressing the Eight Health Insurance Summit of the apex business and industry body, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in New Delhi on Wednesday (August 27), Dr. Harsh Vardhan pegged the growth projection in healthcare sector at 150 billion US dollars by the turn of the decade.

The Minister said, UHA would trigger demand in the sector by making medical treatment affordable for millions, who could not afford it due to prohibitive costs. He said, the national health security programme would be unveiled during the current financial year itself.

"I have set up committees comprising the best possible academic, administrative and technical experts on public health, institutional strengths and weaknesses and, above all, health insurance. Their interim reports are with me and I can disclose at this stage that the future indeed looks good," promised Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

The Minister, however, warned private players of high benchmarks for transparency, quality and consumer protection in the evolving UHA.

"I ask them (pharma industry) to tighten their belts if they want a share of the coming boom because the government will not compromise on quality standards and transparency," the Minister said.

UHA seeks to provide free drugs, apart from government-paid health insurance cover for the poor and competitively premiumed health insurance for all. Dr. Vardhan said, the private hospitals and clinics would benefit from far larger volume than at present, and the spinoffs in terms of business and employment would be massive.

The Health Minister said just as millions of new jobs were thrown open by mobile telephone revolution in the last decade, the healthcare boom would stimulate a huge downstream. The MSME sector will be given special advantages because government will become the biggest marketplace for buying and selling of healthcare goods and services, he said.

"Please be patient and prepare for the coming explosion of business and jobs," was Dr Harsh Vardhan's advice. "We cannot hope to have ?Health for All? without a social movement at its core. Let government and private sector pool synergies and make making people healthy good business."

The Minister said 21st century belongs to holistic medicine and the government intend making alternative systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani and Homeopathy a way of life, as most of the ailments can be easily treated by these forms of therapy.

Source: PIB

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