New Government faces daunting challenge to ensure ‘Health for all’

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Two superspecialty hospitals, 650-bed Rajiv Gandhi superspecialty hospital in east Delhi and the 300-bed Janakpuri superspecialty hospital in West Delhi built by the Delhi government at a cost of over Rs 150 crore are still under construction.
It's a travesty that even after so many years of Independence the Government still cannot make the basic healthcare services accessible to everyone in our country and specially the poor.

Even after things are announced for the welfare of the poor in our respective State budgets things are not really implemented at a fast pace. A TOI report revealed that two multi-specialty hospitals which were mentioned in the state budget by successive governments for 15 straight years - 1998 to 2013 have not been completed yet. While the changing Governments kept on claiming their success in augmenting specialized healthcare facilities, even after 16 years, till date both these hospitals have not been able to admit even a single patient.

Two superspecialty hospitals, 650-bed Rajiv Gandhi superspecialty hospital in east Delhi and the 300-bed Janakpuri superspecialty hospital in West Delhi built by the Delhi government at a cost of over Rs 150 crore are still under construction and are yet not ready to take in the patients.

Why the delay?

AK Walia, Yoganand Shastri and Kiran Walia who were Delhi's Health Minister from 1998 to 2013 couldn't say anything else and cited change of hands in the ministry as the main reason for so much delay. Ironically, Sheila Dikshit-led Congress Government was in Delhi for the past 15 years.
It is the poor who has lost the most due to this delay as these hospitals were supposed to bring specialized care to the poor and lower middle-class people of the city, who cannot afford the private hospitals. All those lives which were lost in these years could have been saved if these hospitals would have come into place at the right time.

India's ailing healthcare system

India has just one doctor for every 1,800 people

The Government spending on healthcare in India is woefully inadequate, because of which there has been a mushrooming of private sector hospitals which lead to astronomical spending and hit the pocket of the common man. And because these private hospitals have a better infrastructure and are better - equipped, even the doctors prefer to work there rather than the ill-equipped government hospitals. The government needs to work upon this abysmal state of health infrastructure in our country.

Inadequate manpower

As per a report in yourstory.com, "India is currently known to have approximately 600,000 doctors and 1.6 million nurses. This translates into one doctor for every 1,800 people. The recommended WHO guidelines suggest that there should be 1 doctor for every 600 people. This translates into a resource gap of approximately 1.4 million doctors and 2.8 million nurses. There is also a clear disparity in the man power present in the rural and urban areas."

Grasping the nettle, need of the hour

The number-crunchers say that India spends nearly 4 per cent of its GDP on health but the fact is 70% of this four per cent either comes from people's pockets or from the private spending meaning which implies that the government spends barely 1% on health sector. Thus, the Government should increase its spending in the sector and should implement the plans too to give a better healthcare system to the country.

One sees a ray of hope in Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's announcement in the Union Budget speech when he said that in order to move towards ‘Health for All', the government will take two key initiatives - Free Drug Service and Free Diagnosis Service - on priority. But what is to be seen is till when do they get implemented.

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