World Health Day 2018: Universal Healthcare For All In India
Published on: 2018/06/03
Vishal Bali, Co-Founder, Medwell Ventures, India
Universal Health Care has become a fundamental principle guiding much of Public Policy and Healthcare Services in countries around the world. The basic premise of this construct is to alleviate the financial costs associated with healthcare while increasing individual access to these services.
Universal healthcare in India, World Health Day, Universal healthcare, Healthcare industry
One of the key messages by WHO was Universal health coverage. Universal Health coverage aims to provide good quality health care to people at the right place as well as time and minimizing the financial burden on the patients.
Universal health care must be made available by governments to all individuals irrespective of their financial status. Universal health care coverage refers to the condition of a society’s health sector, rather than the system of laws and regulations that leads to it. Everyone in a given country can have health insurance. Poverty is cited as the most common reason given for not being able to provide universal health care in a country.
Universal healthcare in India
India is all set to go onboard with an ambitious target of achieving Universal Health Coverage for all during the 12th Plan period. Under this plan, everybody will be entitled to comprehensive health security in the country. States must take steps to ensure that enough food, clean drinking water, medical support, sanitation facilities are made available to all. States should also ensure that the citizens are updated about all health-related information. The State will be responsible for guaranteeing UHC to its citizens.
Kerala became the first state to implement universal health coverage in India. One of the long-term goals envisaged in the policy drafted by the state is a publicly-funded free universal and comprehensive healthcare system. It also envisions bringing down infant and maternal mortality levels at par with developed nations. The policy lays emphasis on the reinvigoration of Ayurveda and other forms of alternative or traditional medicines.
With the efforts in place by the government, Kerala continues to top the health index among large states in terms of overall health performance. Uttar Pradesh stays at the bottom, though it has been showing improvement.
Universal health coverage – Challenges in India
India is plagued by a huge disease burden. The challenges faced in eliminating these are medical, social and political. At the medical level, India faces huge issues in child health, women with reproductive problems that stem from lack of facilities or ignorance, an unregulated private sector in healthcare, the disparity in access to facilities, rising number of old people. At a social level, there is an improper resource allocation, expensive private healthcare, poverty, illiteracy. Lack of political support, coupled with administrative apathy adds to the problem.
The needs of the health sector in the context of India’s diversity are so multifaceted that it is rather impossible to engage with such magnitude. The people deserve and demand an efficient and equitable health care system that can provide Universal Health Coverage in India.