Universal Health:Reality Check On How India’s Marginalised Don’t Benefit From It

Since 2017 December 12 is marked as International Universal Health Coverage Day by the United Nations. The message of the movement is “every person, no matter who they are should be able to get the quality of health services they need without facing financial hardship”.

UHC enables everyone to access the services that address the most significant causes of disease and death and ensures that the quality of those services is good enough to improve the health of the people who receive them.

In his Independence Day speech last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat – Jan Arogya Yojana also known as Modicare, which was dubbed as the world’s biggest government-sponsored healthcare scheme.

It was hailed as a significant step towards universal health coverage in India, where a vast majority of the population are not able to afford proper medical care. Though various steps have been taken in this regard, the reality is that universal health coverage is still a distant dream for the majority of Indians.

One of the reasons for this is how much the country spends on health care. India spends just 1.2 percent of its GDP on its healthcare. China, on the other hand, spends almost 5.6 times more and the US around 125 times more.

We have several policies that have been directed towards providing universal health care. But the real issue is about the implementation of it and those in need are covered. But this is not met yet.

One of the significant drawbacks that our policies have is how much importance is given to primary health care, which is very important for prevention. 90 percent of the health issues are preventable if proper care is given at the primary level,” Shaonli Chakraborty, Associate Director, Swasti Health Catalyst said.

One of the significant drawbacks that our policies have is how much importance is given to primary health care, which is very important for prevention. 90 percent of the health issues are preventable if proper care is given at the primary level,” Shaonli Chakraborty, Associate Director, Swasti Health Catalyst said.

Unlike the popular belief, that the urban poor is in a better position when it comes to access to health care, studies show that they are equally or in some cases more vulnerable than the rural poor.

The health of the urban poor is worse than the rural poor population on many indicators. A lot of the urban poor do not have proper documentation which makes them ineligible for UHC. Private health care is often out of the reach of the urban poor and there is hardly any attention given to setting them up in the public sector,” Rhea said.

She also said that the Mohalla clinic set up by the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi and the primary health clinics in Hyderabad have proven to address this issue to a certain level.-India Times

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