Lancet Report: On healthcare, India worst among BRICS countries

The researchers have claimed that it’s disturbing that country has failed to adequately protect its citizens against financial risks associated with health costs.

Written by ANURADHA MASCAREHNAS | Pune | Published:December 11, 2015 5:11 am

India is the poorest performer on health among the five BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), a new report card on the health scene in the country by Indian researchers has said. The researchers, including chairman of the expert group set up by the erstwhile Planning Commission in 2011, have claimed that it’s disturbing that country has failed to adequately protect its citizens against financial risks associated with health costs.

“These catastrophic expenditures on health continue to push millions into poverty,” leading academicians and researchers Dr Vikram Patel and Dr K Srinath Reddy have written in their review — ‘Assuring Health Coverage For All In India’. The review will be published online on Friday (December 11) in The Lancet.

Patel and Reddy told The Indian Express: “A large proportion of the population is impoverished because of high out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures and suffers the adverse consequences of poor quality of care.”

Total expenditure on health in India has gone down from 4.5 per cent of GDP in 2004 -05 to 4 per cent in 2013-14. Along with Patel and Reddy, other researchers from Public Health Foundation of India, World Heart Federation and AIIMS have called for radically new architecture for India’s healthcare system.

“Despite being home to 17·5 per cent of the global population, India accounted for 20 per cent of the global burden of disease in 2013 — only a slight improvement from 21 per cent in 2005. India accounts for 27 per cent of all the neonatal deaths and 21 per cent of all the child deaths (younger than 5 years) in the world. Diarrhoea, pneumonia, preterm birth complications, birth asphyxia, and neonatal sepsis account for 68 per cent of all deaths in children younger than 5 years in the country,” the researchers have pointed out.

Reddy has called for urgent course-correction in the health system. According to Reddy, the first priority should be primary care. The second challenge, according to him, is to overcome shortage of skilled workers. The other challenges include regulating private sector and improving public spending on health.

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  1. B
    Bijan Mohanty
    Dec 11, 2015 at 6:44 am
    I hope "SABA KA SATTH, SAB KA BIKASH" slogan is not applicable to health care. This statistics should be shown to our respected PM and his comment should be put on public domain.
    1. C
      Chander P. Tahiliani
      Dec 11, 2015 at 10:10 am
      looking forward to major improvements going forward
      1. J
        Dec 11, 2015 at 3:20 am
        It is all Modi's fault. Another Award Wapasi to support improved healthcare. Anyone?? anyone??? Burkha Dutt?? Devi?? what?? ?? ?? No one? Absolutely no one??
        1. J
          Dec 11, 2015 at 8:35 am
          Oh my what a enlightening comment. Sir you are the best, we should have temples in your name. Thy name is slave O Bijan Mohanty, Thy name is Biased O Great Bijan Mohanty, Thy name is ignorant O Bijan Mohanty and most of all ha. let go, I do not want to lower myself
          1. K
            Dec 11, 2015 at 3:51 pm
            Lancet is a Social and Political Tabloid masquerading as a Science Journal. It should not be taken seriously. Science Journals don't deal with Social and Political issues or violate domestic laws in their pursuit of an ideology. Science Journals also adopt and promote a scientific naming convention with respect to new discoveries and findings and does not indulge in name calling (Delhi Super Bug) with an ulterior motive. Finally, it is always safe to ignore everything that has any ociation with the English as biased and wistful (due the loss of their Empire).
            1. P
              Prof.Rais Akhtar
              Dec 11, 2015 at 5:30 am
              I agree with opinion of Dr.Reddy and colleagues. It is a great tragedy that India being the largest producer of medical manpower as well as largest exporter of medical manpower including physicians, but our own health centres and hospitals specially in rural, remote and hilly areas function without doctors.Dr.Reddy and colleagues have rightly pointed out that still we suffer from the shortage of medical manpower July 2015,Government has announced setting up of 14 more medical colleges.WHAT FOR,JUST TO EXPORT DOCTORS ABROAD ?Not only the private medical care be humanized,but medical graduates coming out of our medical colleges MUST SERVE the country firs.They take Hippocratic Oath to serve people,bu as we have seen most prefer to serve people abroad,or wish to locate in metropolitan cities and in other urban areas. For more understanding read my article on WHY WE SHOULD PROCE MORE DOCTORS INDIA,published in a book enled:Indian Health Landscapes Under Globalization,by Manohar in 2010) Prof.Rais Akhtar(Lead Author, IPCC,3rs and 4th essment Report)
              1. S
                Dec 11, 2015 at 4:12 am
                The most effective way to cover under insurance would be to include ancient medical systems
                1. S
                  Dec 11, 2015 at 11:48 am
                  This is fueled by the lack of accountability that begins at the top with India's Judiciary, and in a momentum that began 69 years ago when the foundation of the Reservations-Corruption Raj edifice was laid.
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