India’s development has been severely compromised due to “Triple burden of disease”- the unfinished agenda of infectious diseases; the challenge of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), linked with lifestyle changes; and emergence of new pathogens causing epidemics and pandemics. The healthcare sector in India is fighting with a five-headed dragon and needs an out-of-box solution urgently to meet the challenges for sustainable growth and development.
Despite the healthcare being a major economic constituent and a driver of growth, it continues to languish in a labyrinthine of deprivation and neglect in India. It is, virtually, in transition and is evolving. The overall Indian health sector is inadequate, inefficient and inequitable today.
Low per capita expenditure (as percentage of GDP), highest per capita out of pocket expenditure, low population bed ratio, doctor population ratio and high HAI are few tell-a-tale healthcare indicators which adequately describe the state of affairs in the Health sector. Challenges do not end here. Apart from them, India’s development has been severely compromised due to “Triple burden of disease”- the unfinished agenda of infectious diseases; the challenge of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), linked with lifestyle changes; and emergence of new pathogens causing epidemics and pandemics. The healthcare sector in India is fighting with a five-headed dragon and needs an out-of-box solution urgently to meet the challenges for sustainable growth and development.
According to the sample registration system (SRS) report of May 2019, despite the decline in IMR over the last decades, one in every 30 infants die at the National level (irrespective of rural-urban), one in every 27 infants in rural areas and one in every 43 infants in urban areas still die within one year of life.
Apart from dreaded diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, the outbreak of communicable diseases pose serious challenge to the public health.
Following are some of the approaches that need to be administered to overcome the health sector challenges:
Health system strengthening - In order to make the public health services responsive and receptive it is imperative to improve the functioning of the existing government health institution. Assessment & detailed quantitative and qualitative survey of public health facilities need to be conducted to understand the need in terms of human resources, equipments and infrastructure.
Skilling of Health Workers - Support needs to be provided for the following focused interventions: (i) Capacity building of the existing health workforce through in-service training; (ii) Developing web based/offline curriculum and teaching module to train more health professionals, and (iii) Establishing policies and institutions for producing, recruiting, and retaining health workers and developing human resources management information systems.
Addressing Maternal Child Health challenges- Increase the number of childbirths attended by skilled health personnel; providing vaccinations for under five children; improving nutrition, including the promotion of breast feeding.
Infectious disease control– Development of policies and guidelines for specific diseases, strengthen surveillance method, develop capacity for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, and facilitate networking among laboratories.
Robust AI based information management system – A full bodied AI embedded system for collection of real-time healthcare data, with minimal human intervention, and automated analytic to meet the requirement of all stake holders is the most needed solution for health sector, and overall economic growth and development.
Author: Ramesh Pandey
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