Every day I experience life in the world of healthcare, supporting doctors, faculty, and patients.This is a blog to share thoughts about hospitals, and health care issues. Writings on my favorite professional topics - hospitals, workplace effectiveness, health information exchange and technology, social media and healthy children and families.
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Nov 9, 2014
Do any of our political party care about the health needs?
While healthcare is a major political issue
in the western world, they debate endlessly about the subsidy, quality,
inclusion of doctors , Insurance expenses, Health budget in our
country India its seldom finds just passing mention in the election manifestos
of various political parties. Health has failed to pick up as an election issue
in India despite the country having overwhelming concerns over the quality of
its health care delivery systems.
While one party sources said that its
manifesto would promise universal healthcare and free medicine for the poor,
the second party spokesperson refused to commit anything about what the party
promises to do on the health front. ‘Obviously health is one of the major issues
on which the manifesto will speak,’ . Last year’s economic survey pointed out
that India has the lowest health spend – 4.1 percent – as a proportion of its
GDP. Despite this, 70 percent of the population spends from its own pocket. Helath insurance penetration is meager. Even
the private plus government spending is abysmally low compared to other
nations. While the United States spends around 15.2 percent of its GDP on
health, France spends 11.2 percent and Britain 8.4 percent. Countries like
Brazil and South Africa spend around nine percent. Stakeholders in the health
sector and international agencies say that it is time health found a place in
the political discourse of the world’s largest democracy. Read Ex-health
secretary Keshav Desiraju’s transfer – is it justified?
‘India needs to spend more on health,’ Seth
Berkley, CEO Gavi Alliance, a global health partnership in the field of
immunization, told . ‘We need more political discourse on health care in India’,
he added. According to Genevieve Begkoyian, Chief of Health, Unicef India, the
country has the requisite knowledge and skilled human resources to prevent
maternal and child mortality and deaths due to diseases which can be prevented
by routine immunization.
‘Nearly 1.4 million children die each year
before their fifth birthday. Unfortunately a majority of these deaths are
preventable and low cost interventions to avert these deaths are available but
fail to reach those who need them the most,’ she said.
‘Saving these 1.4 million children that are
dying of preventable causes should be the top priority of any political party
in India. Saving the 56,000 mothers who die while delivering a baby should
equally be topmost on the agenda of all political parties,’ the Unicef official
told . ‘The need is to convert policies into action, especially for the most
vulnerable and invisible children and women,’ she added.
Universal healthcare, clean drinking water
and free drugs are some of the issues which are likely to find mention in the
manifestos of the political parties for the upcoming elections. According to
sources, are set to promise universal health care coverage, including free
medicines at government hospitals and health centers.
Although improving health care cover has been
on the sarkari for some time, progress on this front has been as slow as dead. For the political
party, the poll promise to improve the health care system is an attempt to
project its pro-poor image. They often talk about the need for right to
health care in their speeches. They talk about right to health in their
The UPA had begun the National Rural Health
Mission (NRHM) which it claims has brought down maternal and child deaths in
the country. But another day found it in
mess of corruption and enquiries charges, counter charges which defeats the
very purpose of the mission.
Its time health care should become a
captioned subject of politicians manifesto and elections can be fought on
health care issues.