Indian healthcare needs revamp: UK expert

Asserting that India needs major changes in its primary healthcare system,Professor Sir Andrew Haines — director,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.....

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:March 29, 2009 12:28 am

Asserting that India needs major changes in its primary healthcare system,Professor Sir Andrew Haines — director,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine — pointed out that the country would benefit from replicating international community health programmes,as opposed to individual-based ones.

“Public healthcare in India has the power to deliver improved health outcomes,as demonstrated by a growing number of national and international examples. However,supportive policies need to be put in place in order to change traditional determinants of health,” Haines said at the third foundation day function of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

“Though public healthcare was traditionally used to address child healthcare,it has over the years evolved to tackle some chronic adult health problems such as mental health and even met with some success in tackling cardiovascular diseases,” he said.

He said that outreach programmes in which health-workers attend to the needs of poor people in rural areas,such as Brazil’s Community Health-Care Workers Programme (CHCWP) and the Lady Health Workers Scheme of Pakistan,could be replicated in India.

Healthcare financing also found mention in Haines lecture,suggesting that one of the options that could work well is the “risk pooling approach”,a form of social insurance. “As opposed to the individual-based approach,the risk pooling approach seeks to involve the community on healthcare issues. Health inequities which abound in India must be corrected through investments in a robust primary health-care system,” said Professor K Srinath Reddy,chairman,PHFI.

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