Thursday, November 11, 2010

Healthcare: Stuck between Scam India and Slum India

Believing in the right to life equals believing in the right to health: a basic human right. In India, right to health comes in the form right to clean water, nutrition, waste management, clean air even before it gets to curing sicknesses. So India is solidly "stuck between scam India and slum India" said Dinesh Trivedi of the Healthcare ministry during the session on Health and Happiness at the 2010 PAN-IIT conclave in Noida. He was making a case for public-private partnerships in bringing change to India. Of the total money spent in India on Healthcare, 80% is spent by the private sector and 20% by the government (public funds). This means that 80% of the spend goes to 20% of the population and 20% of the spend goes to 80% of the population. Unless we change something this trend will continue. Obesity related diseases go hand in hand with malnutrition related ones and the twain do not meet. The formation of institutions like the All India Medical Institute (AIMS) was visionary in combining the latest in medical research while also serving the poor; but the government has not had the funds to follow through with more such institutions and indeed even the AIMS suffers from lack of funding. How do we get out of the rut we are in?
Change comes with convergence of three factors :
Feasibility: domain of science and technology - this includes Indian sciences like Ayurveda
Viability: driven by economics and policy
Desirability: Our political and social will
Public-Private partnerships can facilitate movement along all three vectors simultaneously.

I found Mr. Trivedi quite eloquent and persuasive. So if you are in the private sector looking to make things happen - contact him. PAN-IIT has said that all sessions will at some point be on YouTube. You can search for this session (its not there as of this writing) for verification. This writeup is from my personal notes.

1 comment:

Shrey said...

I completely agree on the point that Public Private Partnerships are the way to go.

Besides this, I also feel that an effective and inclusive healthcare delivery mechanism, especially for rural India, must go beyond just POC (point-of-care) diagnostic innovations and should also enable Preventive healthcare, as well as some sort of health financing system (perhaps microinsurance based).