Monday, 16 May 2016

Rationalization of healthcare must: IMA

Rationalization of healthcare must: IMAAJIT PATOWARY
 GUWAHATI, May 13 - As on today, 80 per cent of the pocket expenses of every Indian, on an average, are on medical care. This is making the poor more poorer. Moreover, there is no uniformity in the quality of health care. There has to be a rationalization of the healthcare system of the country.

This was the observation made by Dr KK Agarwal, secretary general of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which is the only representative voluntary organization of the doctors of modern medicines. He was talking to this correspondent today.
He rued that at present, the budgetary allocation for the health sector of the country is less than one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is lower than that of the most of the countries in the world.
If the people of the country want the right to health to be a fundamental one, they should demand raising the budgetary allocation for the healthcare sector at least to the level of five to seven per cent.
The purpose should be such that for every citizen healthcare facilities become accessible and each of the citizens can afford them. Besides, both the receivers and the givers in this system should be accountable. Rationalization of the healthcare system is to be done to achieve the above goal of making right to health a fundamental one, he emphasised.
At present, he pointed out, there is a difference in the country in the level of care provided to the rich and the poor. This is unfortunate, he said.
“The IMA wants that emergency treatment, which includes essential investigations and essential drugs, should be made available to the people free of cost.
“Furthermore, the IMA wants preventive policies with focus on wellness activities to population ratio. Instead of focusing on disease awareness, we should shift to wellness awareness. We should talk about reduction in the blood pressure of the community, reduction in salt consumption and reduction in trans fat.
“We should also talk about reduction of noise and air pollution, no open defecation, safe water etc., issues too. Because, all these can reduce the disease burden of the people,” he said, adding, the policy focus should be on reducing the disease burden rather than increasing the number of hospitals etc.
The IMA secretary general demanded steps for bringing the all costly medicines like stents, devices, implants and cancer medicines, including biologics, under the price capping system.
In reply to another question, he said the Government should focus only on primary and essential care and the rest should be outsourced. For, this is going to provide competitive healthcare prices in the private sector, he reasoned.

He informed that the IMA lauds the Government’s initiative to facilitate establishment of 3,000 Jana Ausadhi centres in the country. They are all from the indigenous manufacturers. These centres will help making medicines available at 20 per cent of the cost, he said.

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