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In The Pink Of Health

Obesity and mental health will overtake all other challenges, and about 70 per cent deaths will be associated with non-communicable diseases

Photo Credit : Subhabrata Das


To visualise india 20 years from now, we need to consider the following four points, as these points will shape the healthcare in India by 2035:

• Changing Population dynamics
• Evolving Disease Burden
• Developments in Global Healthcare
• Rise of India as an Economic Power

Changing Population Dynamics

In 2035, India’s population would be 1.58 billion. The country is expected to overtake China’s population by 2022 according to a report released by the UN in 2015.

Evolving Disease Burden

The growing automation and proliferation of technology will have triple impact;

a) It will lead to more sedentary lifestyle and one out of two people will be either at risk of, or having a chronic disease.

b) For a population of 1.58 billion, joblessness may be high (depending on the economic policies), and adding to this, the dependency ratios will be skewed due to the increasing ageing population (life expectancy is likely to touch 70 by 2035), thereby affecting the productivity of the emerging super power and this will have its impact on the disease burden, healthcare consumption and spending

c) Obesity and mental health will overtake all other challenges, and about 70 per cent deaths will be associated with NCDs or non-communicable diseases

Also, by 2035, tobacco and alcohol consumption in India will be among the highest in the world, and will lead to disorders associated with it.

Given the current growth rate of the prevalence of chronic diseases, India stands to lose $4.58 trillion before 2030 due to NCDs and mental health conditions. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) , accounting for $2.17 trillion, and mental health conditions ($1.03 trillion), will lead the way in economic loss reports World Economic Forum.

Overall, the management of chronic diseases and the geriatric care would be the biggest component of healthcare in 2035.

Developments in Global Healthcare

Global developments in healthcare should be looked at from the following view points:
• Developments in the US, the UK and Europe in terms of healthcare spending and outcomes and their over-burdened health systems.
• R&D for finding cures to diabetes and CVD, emergence of new diseases, big data playing an important role in diagnosis, prescriptions and treatments , robots taking over the role of surgeons for major and delicate surgeries, and precision and personalised medicine based on genomics would spell the death of few pharma companies who fail to understand the tectonic shift early on
• Relevance of multi-lateral organisations such as the WHO will be a big question mark, given the failing health systems the world over

Rise of India as an Economic Power
Seeing the developments in the US, China and the rest of the world, I am convinced that India would be the No. 2

superpower, after the US. China with its aggressive expansionist approach would have decimated itself drastically, and would be in an economic and political mess. By 2035, India would not only overtake China in terms of population but also, India would be much better off than China economically, having already eliminated poverty by 2035.

Much depends on the inclusive economic policies of India. If the policy with regards to agriculture, SMEs, tourism and handcrafts are given thrust, the economic gap in the population will decrease, else we will have a severe economic gap and this will have its impact on the population earning and spending capacity, thereby affecting the healthcare consumption and productivity. In all probability, India will be spending about 7.5 per cent of its GDP on health.

In India, already hospital and pharma lobbying is taking shape directly and through the so-called industry bodies. This will influence healthcare industry in the long term and policy makers have to curb this to avoid a US-like situation where it is totally a supplier driven market, courtesy lobbying for vested interests.

Given the complexity of challenge India has demographically and financially, India could lead the way for solutions in healthcare and may become the healthcare model for the world to follow. India’s economic status in 2035 will directly depend on the health and education of its population, and hence, India needs to steps up its act for quality healthcare and education for all.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Rajendra Pratap Gupta

Rajendra Pratap Gupta is a public policy expert and focuses on governance reforms

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