Affordability of health care is a serious problem: VP

RSTV Bureau
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File Photo(PTI)

The Vice President Shri M. Hamid Ansari on Wednesday has said that affordability of health care is a serious problem for the vast majority of the population, especially in tertiary care. The lack of extensive and adequately funded public health services pushes large numbers of people to incur heavy out of pocket expenditures on services purchased from the private sector.

Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari said this while Addressing at “5thFoundation Day and 2nd Convocation of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences.

He insisted that Healthcare infrastructure gaps remain substantial and are exacerbated by underutilisation of existing resources. The situation is further aggravated by the inequity in healthcare delivery across states and demographic segments.

Rural areas are especially poorly served. Around seventy percent of our population lives in rural areas but only two percent qualified doctors are available in these areas.

He expressed his concern that Healthcare workforce remains inadequate and underutilised. Regulatory standards for public and private hospitals are not adequately defined and, in any case, are ineffectively enforced.

He added that a well functioning and effective regulatory system is required to manage the large and diverse set of healthcare service providers.

On Signalling about health problems likely to worsen in future. He pointed out that Healthcare costs are expected to rise because, with rising life expectancy, a larger proportion of our population will become vulnerable to chronic Non-Communicable Diseases which typically require expensive treatment.

The Vice President opined that the bulk of the population today relies upon private sector health providers, paying amounts which they cannot afford, because of the inadequate reach of the public sector.

There must be substantial expansion and strengthening of the public sector health care system if we are to meet the health needs of rural and even urban areas.

The Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences is a fine example of what the public sector can do and must do in the actualization of our desired goal to have universal health coverage and thereby ensure healthy and economically productive population, Vice-President further added.