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Total Budget Outlay of Public Health Expenditure Less Than Minimum

In the past five years, the total budget outlay of the public health expenditure of the government has not crossed 4 percent. Whereas it should be a minimum of 5 percent. The budget outlay of chief minister HD Kumaraswamy too restricted its health outlay to 4 percent, according to experts, it represents lack of focus on scaling up public health infrastructure. In 2014 Karnataka had a 5 percent of the budget outlay for health and the allocation stood at Rs 3141 crore. A top official in the government had said on condition of remaining anonymous that, “Moneywise there is a hike compared to the last five years. But health expenses too have gone up. The budget over the years has ignored key aspects of creating fully equipped trauma-care centers across the state. That’s why accident cases from far- off Belgaum and Bellary end up coming to Nimhans. There is a need to set up Nimhans- like institutions in every district and make right allocation in the budget for the same.”

Dr NK Venkataramana, founder chairman and chief neurosurgeon, Brains Hospital had said, “Earmarking merely 4 percent of the state’s total expenditure for health is too low and this only shows the lack of right focus. The budget should focus on creating a basic platform inclusive of all specialties. This year, the health budget is focused more on cancer and cardiology, while other major disease burdens like neuro have not been given due attention. The budget allocation for health does not seem to be balanced, with lack of uniform allocation for different specialties.” “Karnataka is better compared to some other states, but there is lot more to improve. This budget has focused on establishment of Diplomate in National Board (DNB) centers at 11 district and taluk hospitals at a cost of Rs 2 crore with a view to tackle shortage of specialists. This is a good move to increase the number of specialists in government sector and to retain talent,” Dr Alexander Thomas, president, Association of Healthcare Providers in India (AHPI), said. – The Hans India