Most emerging economies, have either officially implemented or unveiled blueprints toward universal healthcare, both as a developmental imperative and the moral obligation of a civilized society. India embraced this vision at its independence and aims towards achieving universal health care by 2020.
The Indian healthcare scenario has been faced with low public sector spend which has been a dismal 20% of the total expenditure on health and just around 1.2 per cent of GDP, which is among the lowest in the world. Private health services have grown by default, contributing almost 80%, but escalating private out-of-pocket health expenditures. This trend has led to skewed development of healthcare infrastructure with around 70% of the hospital beds in the private sector in the 20 cities in the country and further, 15% of these beds are in just 6 cities/centers.
The National Rural Health Mission and the several government funded health insurance schemes have provided a partial response. Out-of-pocket expenditure still remains at 71 per cent of all spending, without coverage for outpatient care, medicines and basic diagnostic tests.
In spite of the increased public spending proposed in the 12th Plan, private out-of-pocket expenditures on health will remain high as compared to other countries in the world. Global experience shows that universal health care is feasible provided there is sustained public finance. The government has proposed to provide universal health care in the 12th Plan by taking steps to provide free generic drugs at all public health facilities.
But, whether India will live its dream of ‘Quality Healthcare for All’ in the present context, is a question we need to ponder upon.
In addition to increasing public expenditure on health, Government will have to introduce specific methods to strengthen the public health system as the primary provider of promotive, preventive, and curative health services in India. Further, the government will have to focus upon improving quality and reducing the out-of-pocket expenditure on health care through integration of the private sector within the national health-care system.
In this context, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) is organizing 6th FICCI HEAL, its annual Healthcare Conference from August 27 to 29, 2012 at FICCI, New Delhi. The central theme of the Conference is “Universal Healthcare: Dream or Reality?”. The main features of the event are Conference, 6 Master Classes, Poster Presentation and Bootcamp session for Innovators.
Along with the Conference, FICCI with the support of Quality Council of India is organising the FICCI Healthcare Excellence Awards on August 28, 2012 on the theme “Successful Innovation” to recognize the efforts of healthcare organizations in exhibiting operational excellence, addressing industry issues and individual recognitions to persons who have moved the needle.
The Conference would be a conglomeration of policy makers and national and international leaders from healthcare and associated industries with participation of about 350-400 delegates from India and abroad. Our endeavor, through this conference, is to keep universal healthcare as the core theme of the conference and deliberate on the emerging opportunities, challenges and solutions.
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