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BW Businessworld

Health Care, India And The World

In the field of health care, therefore, India has a lot to offer to the world, and especially to Southeast Asia and Africa, where there is a greater need for low-cost innovations in public health

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Medical advances have increased human longevity significantly over the past few centuries. We have been successful in finding cures for common ailments, and in preventing and even eradicating many life-threatening illnesses. These advances are due to the dedication of medical scientists who have devoted their lives to research and development, as well as clinical practice.

Medical knowledge exists in all countries, but the distribution of medical services is guided by government policy. In most European countries, medical care for all citizens is guaranteed by the state, whereas in the US, individuals have to buy insurance that covers their expenses. In India, health care is free in government hospitals and Primary Health Centres, but the facilities are far from adequate in covering our vast population. As a consequence, India has evolved a unique arrangement, which is a combination of private and public facilities.

Regarding India’s contribution to the world, we have several significant health-care solutions to offer. Firstly, our private health-care system provides an effective and affordable model for the world to emulate. Any country with a large and diverse population and limited resources requires multiple health-care solutions in order to reach all its people. Although we have still not reached our target, private hospitals in India provide an effective alternate system which can be accessed by people of different economic levels. Many of our hospitals offer discounts and free health camps for the economically weaker sections of society.

The second important global contribution that India makes to the world is medical education. Our doctors are among the best qualified in the world, with vast clinical experience and excellent training, The highly competitive educational system ensures that the most talented ones make it to medical school. Indian doctors are highly regarded the world over.

More recently, our nurses have also been in great demand in other countries. This is another area where we can make a mark. In many developed countries, although longevity is guaranteed, the elderly are confined to institutions which may have the best of facilities, but are lacking in manpower.

Another important contribution that India can make to the medical field is in the area of public health. Because of our long-standing excellence in medical sciences in the South Asian region, we have to take the lead to find solutions to our own health concerns through research and development. Many of the problems of the global South are not priority for other countries that have abundant funds.

Further, the ecological, climatic, geographic and racial differences sometimes prevent the seamless transfer of findings from research conducted in other countries. In the field of health care, therefore, India has a lot to offer to the world, and especially to Southeast Asia and Africa, where there is a greater need for low-cost innovations in public health.

The author is the promoter of Bharadwaj Hospital, Noida

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 28-12-2015)