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Strengthening India’s identity as the world’s largest healthcare hub

FY23 is the year when the hospital sector recorded the highest CapEx in the past decade, according to Ind-Ra. This growth was supported by improvements in the ARPOB, increased occupancy levels, a higher number of operational beds, and a reduction in ALOS. And over the next couple of years, the outlook remains stable. The hospital industry is expected to see an overall revenue growth at 8–10 percent in FY24.

The Indian healthcare sector has been attracting heightened interest from global and domestic investors recently. Indian hospitals, accounting for 80 percent of the total healthcare market, have attracted a colossal sum of ₹27,000 crore in the past two years. These investments have come from a mix of domestic and foreign sources, including private equity, venture capital, and public funding. The top transactions included investments in Manipal Hospitals, Sahyadri Hospitals, Healthcare Global, ASG Eye Hospital, and Maxivision Eye Hospital.

The government’s commitment to scale up India’s health infrastructure, initiatives like Ayushman Bharat, allocation of ₹700 crore fund to set up seven Centers of Excellence across various NIPER and ₹4250 crore to push research in private sector is encouraging.

Shifting gears, world leaders at the SDG Summit 2023 held at the UN headquarters in New York from September 18–19, while adopting a sweeping Political Declaration, acknowledged that the Sustainable Development Goals needed a rescue plan, and the world continues to face a crisis in health. There is a need for a massive scaling up of affordable financing to the least developed countries. FDI flows to the least developed countries has declined about 30 percent in 2022, as compared to 2021, impacting investments in healthcare among other sectors. Climate change is bringing an array of health challenges. Antimicrobial resistance threatens to undermine past successes against infectious diseases. Non-communicable diseases are also increasing. Expansion of the health workforce needs to be a priority. High-income countries with ageing populations are increasingly recruiting health workers from low- and middle-income countries, weakening the latter’s health systems.

That said, G20 presidency gave the center stage to India, reaffirming its position as a leading player in healthcare. The LoI exchanged between UN-India and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently committed that the UN will be working closely with the Indian external affairs ministry, and the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration stressed the importance of One Health approach and strengthening primary healthcare, health workforce, and essential health services to better-than-pre-pandemic levels, ideally within the next two to three years. It is now up to India’s corporates to ensure India gets a big role in the world play!

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