Calling upon private sector to come forward to compliment & supplement the efforts of Government to ensure quality affordability in healthcare, Dr A K Shiva Kumar, Member, National Advisory Committee, Government of India mentioned that India has such a huge population that one single agency cannot transform the entire healthcare in the country. Public Private Partnerships is the only way forward. He was speaking at the Conference on Transforming Healthcare in Northern Region: Agenda for Action organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here today. Dr Kumar also released the CII – Grant Thornton Report on “Bridging the Divide for a Healthy India : Agenda for Transforming Healthcare Delivery in the Northern Region”.
Dr Shiva Kumar shared that In India the average expenditure by State on healthcare is Rs 1500 per person, which is only about 1.2 percent of GDP, which is very less compared to China’s spend (around 2.7 percent of GDP). He accentuated the need to increase the GDP spend on healthcare stating that even countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan & Nepal are doing better with half or less per capita GDP as compared to India. “We need to focus on healthcare the way we have focussed on primary healthcare and make sure that the sector becomes sustainable and the private sector has a huge role to play in this. We cannot link it to the high rates of GDP growth. Even at lesser GDP growth, health agenda needs to be taken forward sustainably, he added.
Mr Pravir Kumar, Principal Secretary, Medical Health & Family Welfare, Government of Uttar Pradesh shared UP’s 2 pronged vision to upscale healthcare delivery in State. He said, “We are focussing on ‘technology’ as top–down & ‘empowerment’ as bottom-up approach to ensure that the State improves on healthcare parameters. We are working on the cloud based IT solutions to monitor the delivery of services and digitization of medical records. The other important aspect would be to empower people to demand services. For which, Gram Panchayats would focus on reviewing the service & quality of delivery. A fixed agenda would be reviewed during gram panchayat meetings, to encourage accountability.”
Sharing that UP has announced 2013 as the ‘Year of Child’, he said, “Our biggest challenge is to save the young lives in the State. Lack of physical infrastructure and inadequate human resources make it difficult to reach the 21 crore citizens of UP. There is a huge gap, which could only be bridged by the integration of public & private infrastructure. It is important that we fill the critical gap, he added.
Mr Harpal Singh, Past Chairman, CII Northern Region and Mentor & Chairman Emeritus, Fortis Healthcare Ltd mentioned that “A person who is not healthy is unable to access opportunities for learning, growth and productive work. In India, a number of rights are guaranteed to its citizens but none of these can be utilized or enforced by persons who are sick, enfeebled and spend their entire energy on treatment and medical care”. Highlighting the high variance in the quality of service available in the country, Mr Singh said, “Our medical healthcare system has to be developed to cater to medical requirements of all sections of society, both in rural and urban areas, especially for the disadvantaged section of our society. There is a need for increased investments in the healthcare sector and the integration of public & private agencies would be the key to accomplish quality & affordable healthcare”.
Mr Mahadevan Narayanamoni, Partner & Practice Leader, Healthcare and Life Sciences Advisory, Grant Thornton India LLP said, “The penetration of quality healthcare in many of the Northern States of India is still substantially low and also lower than that of several Southern States. Further, even within the Northern Region, there are significant disparities across States on key parameters such as availability of doctors and number of hospitals / beds. At the national level, rural areas are far behind on similar parameters, indicating very poor access to healthcare services”.
Mr Narayanamoni added, “Given the multitude of the issues, solutions need to be driven by leveraging existing infrastructure like district hospitals and nursing homes, technology adoption such as telemedicine and point-of-care devices, deskilling preventive care and diagnostics, using technology to reduce dependence on qualified practitioners who are in short supply and other innovative business models”.
The sessions of the conference focussed on PPP in NR States & Regulatory compliances – Creating workable models for improving quality of healthcare and Non-conventional delivery models & Partnership between Preventive & Curative Care – Is technology the right solution for accessibility and affordability. The Key takeaways included
• Higher engagement between Government and Private sector
• Models of engagement to be developed
• Clarity on expectation & deliver to encourage PPPs
• Good Regulations can help drive quality in healthcare
• Need for regulations in devices & refurbished radiology equipment
• Regulatory approvals need to be faster & cheaper
• Technology could be leveraged to ensure partnership between Preventive & Curative Care
• Non-Conventional delivery models could be made sustainable with the use of technology