Guest column : Doctor ‘scarcity’ a crisis of numbers or leadership? #UHC

Dr Raman KumarA recent article in the Indian Express reported statistics from India’s National Health Mission to highlight what it called “a debilitating shortage” of health specialists in the country. In doing so, it only reaffirmed what several experts, committees, and policy wonks have said all along: India needs more doctors.

For the longest time, India’s healthcare problem has been defined as one of numbers. Doctor demand outstrips supply, we are told. The accent has been on creating supply (predominantly in the private sector) to address this perceived shortage. I use the word “perceived” because the problem does not lie in numbers alone. What India faces is a full-blown leadership crisis caused by the systematic undermining of primary care physicians and the disproportionate clout wielded by super specialists in medical regulation against the backdrop of a lacklustre public health system. Continue reading “Guest column : Doctor ‘scarcity’ a crisis of numbers or leadership? #UHC”

Ernst & Young on universal healthcare : money or soul?

An Ernst & Young report released last week in tie-up with industry chamber FICCI reckons that public or government funding of healthcare should be raised to between 3.7 per cent and 4.5 per cent of gross domestic product from 1 per cent at present to achieve universal healthcare over a period of ten years. See here. That government spending has to go up is a given. And it’s important to know by how much. Yet, money might well be the least of our worries. Continue reading “Ernst & Young on universal healthcare : money or soul?”

India and universal healthcare : public engagement needed

Too thin to spot : There's scant public discussion on India's plan for universal healthcare

Two articles I read recently brought home, once more, the absolute lack of a cohesive national debate on “healthcare for all Indians” which is currently a hot topic in New Delhi. Continue reading “India and universal healthcare : public engagement needed”