Majority of Indians get inadequate health services: Piramal

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Ahmedabad, Dec 20 (UNI) In the shadow of India's urban upper classes, who have access to health conditions that rival the best of any developed country, the vast majority of India is subject to a grossly inadequate public health system, said Anand Piramal of Nicholas Piramal groups.

Mr Piramal said this during the announcement of Rs 10 lakh, Piramal Prize, a partnership between the Piramal Foundation and the Center for Innovation, Incubation, and Entrepreneurship(CIIE) at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad here today.

The Piramal Prize has been established by Ajay G Piramal Foundation to encourage and support bold entrepreneurial ideas which have a profound impact on access to higher standards of health for India's rural and marginalised urban communities.

The prize consists of two parts, a Rs 10 lakh award for the winning entry and secondly incubation support of IIM, Ahmedabad's CIIE(established in 2001) and possible additional venture capital funding.

Mr Piramal said, the Piramal prize aims to identify people who will bring in highest standards of health to all, adding that, ''We hope to tackle this challenge by getting best people from the country.'' Refering to a recent development of purifying and supplying arsenic-free water at a cost of 7 paise per litre by an incubatee made possible with laboratory support from the Pirmal foundation, Anand Shah, of Pirmal Foundation said, malnutrition affects 85 per cent of Indian children and kills more than 150,000 every year.

Mr Shah said, Public health expenditures in India, is the lowest in the world at less than one per cent of the GDP, adding that, with no appreciable healthcare coverage, the bulk of the Indian population (97%) pay out of pocket for healthcare services.

Half of hospitalised patients borrow funds for treatment at high interest, forcing more than 30 per cent of them to slip below the poverty line and exhaust life savings due to healthcare costs, Mr Shah added.

Speaking on the occasion, IIMA director Sameer Barua informed that there are 16 incubatees in CIIE while five are in healthcare.

UNI

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