India has given importance to the health of its citizens for a long time. People have laid emphasis on health since the time when India had rulers and kingdoms. Generations down the lane as society got shaped due to different situations the way healthcare was provided also changed. After India got independent it has witnessed a lot of improvements. Several medical policies and laws were passed and implemented that took care of public health. However, due to the huge and uneven population and development across the states not all of them were successful or ran smoothly. Indian medical care faced many problems and is continuing to do so as recently witnessed due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.
Ranking on Global Scale
On a global scale, India ranks very low in terms of providing adequate healthcare to its citizens. It doesn’t stand in the top 100 countries despite being one of the best developing countries. Bangladesh ranks above India in terms of providing healthcare. According to the Global Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) index in 2016, India ranks 145th worldwide.
Problems in Indian Medical Care system:
Rural areas in India mostly comprise of civil hospitals. The major population of India still is found in villages while the medical institutions and hospitals are located in urban areas. The government hospitals have doctors available for a short period of time while they spend most of their time in their own private clinic. This is a common practice in India. Due to this a lot of people in rural areas don’t get proper healthcare services or get delayed services in general. This is a major problem.
According to a medical study only 31.5% of hospitals and 16% hospitals beds are available in rural areas while it comprises 75% of population.
The expenditure on public health in India is just 17.3% of the total health expenditure while the USA spends a total of 44.1% of their total health expenditure on public health. Even our neighbouring countries like China and Sri Lanka spend 24.9% and 45.4% of their total health expenditure on public health. Our spendings on public health are very low taking into consideration our population. This is the reason for low health standards and subsequently low ranking in the global HAQ index.
Another major issue is unequal healthcare services amongst the states of India. The good quality of healthcare services haven’t reached rural and remote areas and thus they remain underserved. While the urban areas and metro cities in our country have the top notch medical facilities 24*7. That’s why according to the HAQ index in Indian states, Goa ranks first and Assam ranks last.
This issue also expands to the social classes our country is divided into. The inequality in medical care facilities is also sometimes seen in the different castes especially if they are poor. The poor have access only to limited facilities.
Research is one of the aspects of our education system that is not well developed. Our country lags behind in terms of educational research. Universities and institutions focus less on research based work and more on degree. That’s why very few medical colleges in India have research work. It is one of the medical problems we face. More funds have to be allocated to promote research among medical students that will in turn benefit us in the long term.
The healthcare services provided in India are mostly western. While traditional India had many of the medical treatments like ayurveda these practices are being used rarely. The western healthcare facilities are expensive and the poor people can’t afford them especially if the illnesses are chronic and serious. Homeopathy and ayurveda are less expensive and can benefit the common man without burning his pockets. These practices need to be pushed more.