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BW Businessworld

Healthcare Industry Deserves Support

Sumit Goel, Senior Management Consultant, E & Y India, says the real focus should be to make drugs and medical services affordable to all

Photo Credit : Subhabrata Das

Healthcare and hygiene are major concerns for most people in the country. The government is looked upon to provide adequate funding for healthcare, especially to underprivileged people and those living in rural areas.

Healthcare experts participating in a BW Businessworld post-budget analysis, said that the Union Budget 2017-18 has touched upon some of the key needs in the healthcare industry. Though more clarity on the fund allocation and the implementation part is to be emerged, the recommendations such as making the drugs affordable by amending Drugs and Cosmetics Act, conversion of several health sub-centres across the country into health and wellness centres and structural changes in the medical education are well intended measures.

Sumit Goel, Senior Management Consultant, E & Y India, said: "I think the real focus should be to make drugs and medical services affordable to all."

The targets to achieve the ultimate goal in the healthcare sector requires a wholistic approach and government attention is needed to align various factors including education, para medics, quality services and the business of health. The country always has ambitious targets but sometimes due to a lack of efforts even well-intended plans do not succeed. Experts believe that healthcare should not only be a primary objective but also a fundamental right.

Dr Rajeev Boudhankar, CEO, Bhatia Hospital, says, "Apart from curative healthcare, I think preventive and proactive measures should also be looked upon."

Better medical education and infrastructure play a big role in enhancing the main centres of healthcare delivery in the country.

Gautam Khanna, CEO, P.D. Hinduja Hospital, said: "Often the shortage of doctors is discussed in the policy papers and the equal or more shortage in the number of nurses and other para medics do not get mentioned at the policy level. So, the impetus needs to be given to increase supply of the allied service personnel as well along with doctors."

Another worry for the healthcare sector is the concentration of healthcare in the urban areas. Doctors largely prefer to work in the urban areas because of better remuneration and facilities. So in order to ensure availability of doctors in the rural areas, they need to be adequately incentivised in addition to providing better healthcare infrastructure and service facilities.

"Even though there is a revolution and advancement in the healthcare industry, it hasn't yet reached the poor and the needy fully due to unequal distirbution. The public private partnership model needs to be enhanced with cooperation from both the side," said Dr Hiren Ambegaonkar, Regional Medical Director - South & West, Fortis Hospital Limited.