Healthcare in India has seen a sea change since independence. With only 18 medical colleges and 527 primary healthcare centers in 1947, we have progressed to 497 medical colleges and 25,650 primary healthcare centers. Even though such progress is worth applauding, the healthcare delivery is uneven and of unpredictable quality. Tier-I and Tier-II cities have seen much more development in healthcare than the Tier-III and Tier-IV cities.
Current Indian healthcare scenario
With the emergence of numerous corporate hospitals, the geographical canvas of healthy has changed in Tier I and Tier-II cities. Earlier the patients had to travel abroad for medical treatment. Now more and more patients from overseas preferring India thus promoting medical tourism due to quality and affordable healthcare, the only restraint is restricted to Tier I cites. In Tier-II and Tier III cities, many doctors have opened small nursing homes and hospitals. However, it lacks standardized services. Situation of Tier IV (Villages and rural areas) cities is that it lacks quality healthcare.
The government healthcare delivery system is organized in three tiers. primary, secondary and tertiary. The infrastructure and human resources are optimal in the states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu. However, the geographical spread is not uniform. States like UP, Rajasthan have not yet met the national level.
Change in pattern of disease. There is a drastic change in the pattern of diseases. Earlier, vector-borne diseases and air- and water-borne diseases like dengue jaundice, and typhoid contributed to high mortality rate. At that time government and NGOs stressed upon controlling and prevention of such diseases. Now the situation is extremely changed, with more and more lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes and obesity prevalent.
Supply deficit services. With highly overburdened and understaffed public hospitals, the policies should be amended to increase qualified medical professionals, technology in the rural areas and villages, which at present rely upon the private sector.
The need of the hour – leadership from the private sector
Even though the government has come out with various healthcare programs but it lacked proper implementation. On the other hand, wherever communities have been involved, they came out successful. For an instance through various programs we were able to eradicate polio and small pox completely.
Unfortunately, allocation of funds for healthcare in the budget is very low in comparison to other countries. We hardly spend 1.3 percent of GP for health and out of which 75 percent is of the budget goes to management of medical colleges and tertiary super speciality hospitals. Budget for primary health in Tier III and Tier IV cities is very low.
Technical advancements. With the advancements, command centers are boon for doctors and patient as well. Now diagnostic centers do not require doctor, through its command centers, X rays and ECG can be done with ease. This would need to be incorporated in secondary care hospitals to be developed in these cities.
Proactive approach from corporate sector. The corporate sector should come forward and allocate the budget for the same. Instead of opening one super speciality hospital, ten secondary hospitals can be developed using the same budget. This will increase geographical canvas and will be beneficial for the patients.
Government policies need to transparent so that the leadership from private sector could help in development for a robust system for well structured and organized healthcare system in the country.