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Around 65% hospital beds cater to 50% population of country

A Niti Aayog report has said that about 65 per cent of hospital beds in the country cater to almost 50 per cent of the population and stressed that the number of beds must be increased by at least 30 per cent to ensure equitable access to healthcare facilities for people.

In a report titled ‘Reimagining Healthcare in India through Blended Finance’, the Aayog further said India’s healthcare spending is least among BRICS countries.

“It is noteworthy that around 65 per cent of hospital beds in India cater to almost 50 per cent of the population concentrated in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, West Bengal and Kerala,” the report said.

It added that the other 50 per cent of the country’s population living in the remaining 21 states and 8 Union Territories (UTs) has access to only 35 per cent of hospital beds.

“This indicates a need to grow hospitals beds by at least 30 per cent to ensure equitable access to healthcare for citizens in all parts of the country,” the report said.

Blended finance is an approach towards financing where catalytic funding from public and philanthropic sources is utilised to mobilise additional private sector investment to realize social goals and outcomes.

According to the report, the hospital sector in India accounts for 80 per cent of the total healthcare market.

“It was valued at USD 61.79 billion in FY17 and is expected to reach USD 132 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 16-17 per cent” the report said.

Noting that health insurance contributes 20 per cent to the non-life insurance business, making it the second largest portfolio, it said. Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) could increase the penetration of health insurance in India from 34 per cent to 50 per cent.

“This would, in turn, increase the demand for in-patient services,” the report observed.

It noted the COVID-19 pandemic provided an impetus for the expansion of the home healthcare market in India and with social distancing as the new norm, telemedicine solutions are fast emerging as a convenient alternative.

“The market size for telemedicine in India (USD 830 million, as of 2019) is projected to increase to USD 5.5 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 31 per cent during 2020-25,” the report said.

It pointed out that before COVID-19, it was estimated that over USD 500 billion of private capital must be mobilised annually to meet all of India’s sustainable development goals by 2030 and to address access, affordability, and quality healthcare, it is estimated that under a business-as-usual scenario USD 256 billion would be needed by 2034 to achieve sustainable development goals related to health.

“But with the adoption of new technologies and a focus on prevention and wellness, the funding requirement is estimated at USD 156 billion,” the report said.

It pointed out that India’s healthcare spending is 3.6 per cent of GDP, including out-of-pocket and public expenditure.

Observing that the combined total government expenditure of both central and state is 1.29 per cent of GDP, the report said India spends the least among BRICS countries.

Brazil spends the most (9.2 per cent), followed by South Africa (8.1 per cent), Russia (5.3 per cent) and China (5 per cent).

As per the latest estimates by the United Nations, nearly USD 3.9 trillion is needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, more than double the current funding of USD 1.4 trillion dedicated towards SDGs from domestic and international sources. PTI

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