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Stress On Primary Health Care

There is a need to strike a balance among the view points of political leaders, health professionals and administrators in providing cost-effective universal health care for all to provide people better access to quality medical care at reasonable cost, said Dr.K.Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India.

Public financing must for universal health coverage: Dr. Srinath Reddy

While political leaders are keen on population coverage at the cost of quality, health professionals seek best service packages and administrators focus on cost coverage and fiscal prudence. But primary health care remains the most important aspect of universal health coverage and governments should give priority for primary health care, he said.

More so when non-communicable diseases were on the rise imposing a huge pressure on secondary and tertiary hospitals and financial burden for the patients. “Primary health care can be ignored at our own peril and it is corner stone of UHC. There is a mismatch between public advocacy on health and budgetary allocations. Public health management aims at efficiency and equity not profit,” he said.

Dr. Reddy said public financing was critical if country wanted to provide universal health coverage and sufficient public spending on health would ensure financial protection. He also said community participation would improve health care as in Kerala while Mohalla clinics in Delhi were offering reasonable primary health care services.

Dr. Reddy delivered memorial lecture on Dr.V.Chandramouli, endowed by Essential Medical Services at ASCI. Speaking on ‘Universal health Coverage: India’s Journey Must Benefit from Global Learnings’, he said India could learn more from Asean countries like Japan and Thailand which achieved good life expectancy after introducing UHC in 1961 and 2002 respectively.

In India about 63% of deaths were due to NCDs and more importantly people in their productive mid-life were succumbing to NCDs was a major concern. Seven per cent of India’s population was pushed into poverty by unaffordable health care expenditure. Early detection of life style diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure at PHCs and their management could prevent people from developing complications requiring treatment at tertiary hospitals, he said.

Mr K.Padmanabhaiah, Chairman, CoG, Administrative Staff College of India, who chaired the meeting said the subject of health care and sanitation should be left to the States by the Centre.-The Hindu

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