(Pooja Pal; Intern Journalist): On March 11, the Ministry of Finance inflated allocation 0.008% of the country’s GDP to the health services division to support an expansion of healthcare spending, Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research (a unit of Fitch Group) said.
New Delhi: On March 11, the Ministry of Finance inflated allocation 0.008% of the country’s GDP to the health services division to support an expansion of healthcare spending, Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research (a unit of Fitch Group) said.
It is to be noted that this is not a new budgetary allocation, but only a rerouting of existing expenditure, it said, adding that the “stimulus package is lacking in addressing the immediate concerns of the healthcare system”.
The unprecedented crisis due to COVID-19 has highlighted the need to increase investment in the healthcare sector in the country.
Despite several healthcare reforms, India is badly placed to tackle the rapid spread of coronavirus. The continuous absence of medical funding and healthcare infrastructure shows that the effect of future spread of the disease will be terrifying in India if it is not adequately contained, it said.
Furthermore, the most important inefficiency, improper functioning, and acute shortage of healthcare delivery systems in the public sector do not cope up with the population’s growing needs.
The low level of public spending on health is both a cause and an exacerbating factor accounting for the poor quality, limited reach, and insufficient public provisioning of healthcare, it said.
“Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the critical importance of the public sector in health provisioning,” Fitch Solutions added.
Rapidly declining revenues and sharply eroding profits are leading to the closure of many private hospitals.
In spite of all its weaknesses and constraints, the public sector had to step up to play as the protagonist of addressing healthcare needs amidst this pandemic as the private hospitals have responded inadequately to the crisis, it said.
Private hospitals, which make up for two-thirds of hospital beds in India, and almost 80% of available ventilators, are handling less than 10% of the critical load of COVID-19 patients.
Several are not even offering non-COVID-19 healthcare services, hence ignoring and transferring the stress of providing healthcare on the already strained public health sectors’ shoulders. Only a few private providers have come forward to extend support to the government.