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Desire To Provide Equitable Healthcare Will Reinforce To Voters That They Matter To Politicians

As THE COUNTRY VOTES for a new government, equitable and accessible healthcare is being talked about. The next big promise of healthcare for the poor is pitched to be the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY). The proposed plan, while facilitating access to a subset of the population, will cost roughly $1.7 billion. However, the PMJAY, which promises health through insurance for millions of vulnerable Indians, will do little to strengthen our public sector while redirecting spending to the unregulated private sector. As the decibel level from the campaign soars, it is time to place comprehensive healthcare reform on the agenda for change. With only weeks left for voting to conclude, it is critical to understand the role of healthcare in alleviating poverty and improving human development.

Another critical area of concern adversely impacting the public health sector is the dearth of human resources. Unfortunately, any consideration of alternate human resources such as nurse practitioners have failed to gather momentum. The rural health statistics report show that 8 per cent of primary health centres (PHCs) function without a doctor, 38 per cent without a lab technician and 22 per cent without a pharmacist. At the community health centre level, there was a considerable shortage of specialist allopathic doctors. The Higher-Level Expert Group (HLEG) for universal health coverage put forth by the then Planning Commission recommended a doctor-population ratio of 1:1,000, identical to WHO recommendations. – Indian Express


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