Medical infrastructure in India needed: Apollo Chairman

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Hyderabad, Mar 6 (UNI) Apollo Hospitals Chairman Prathap C Reddy today stressed the need for more medical infrastructure to meet the healthcare requirements of all sections of the people.

In his keynote address at the round table session on 'Transforming Indian Healthcare, organised by the Andhra Pradesh chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here, he said there were not enough hospitals, doctors, nurses and para-medical staff in the country to meet the growing healthcare needs of the people.

Currently India had about six lakh doctors and nearly 1.6 million nurses. As per WHO norms for developing countries, this translates into a shortfall of 1.4 million doctors and 2.8 million nurses for India, Dr Reddy, who is also CII National Healthcare Council Chairman said.

Pointing out that the growth of healthcare services in the country had not kept pace with the remarkable developments in other sectors, he said to reach the healthcare norms of developed countries by 2027, India would require an astronomical one trillion US dollars investment over the next 20 years.

In order to transform the healthcare sector, the emphasis of the government should be on financing healthcare rather than delivery.

There was a need to create a more conducive environment to attract investments in health insurance as well as healthcare delivery. This would help to transform the health sector into a vibrant driver for the Indian economy, he added.

The governments worldwide were playing a bigger role in sharing the burden of healthcare expenditure. However, in India, over 80 per cent of the healthcare spend was in the private sector, he said.

Stating that poor healthcare could severely impact economic growth, he said given the growth momentum the country was going through, the Union Government should take a macro perspective for the development of the economy and identify healthcare as 'National Priority Sector.' He said CII had organised the India Health Summit at New Delhi in November last year and most of the recommendations proposed by it had been fulfilled on healthcare in the recently announced Union budget for 2008-09.

Andhra Pradesh Medical Education Director A Y Chary said the state government had taken several initiatives to provide quality healthcare to all sections of the people in the state.

The aim was to establish government medical colleges in every district of the state, he said adding the government had introduced Rajiv Arogyasri Health Insurance scheme for poor people to provide corporate hospital treatment for major ailments.

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