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Union Budget 2022-23 | Strengthening Public Healthcare Sector
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has reiterated the need for better investments in strengthening India's public healthcare sector. Additionally, technological advancements and innovation in the field of healthcare need to be prioritized in the budget
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A fortnight before the Union Budget is in general full of expectations for all sectors and healthcare/health tech is no exception. Technology and development go hand-in-hand, specifically in the healthcare sector. This combination does not just hold solutions to various issues we face, it also creates opportunities for innovation to germinate and thrive in the form of startups that address, otherwise overseen problems.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has reiterated the need for better investments in strengthening India's public healthcare sector. Additionally, technological advancements and innovation in the field of healthcare need to be prioritized in the budget, in order to mitigate problems in the enablement of healthcare services. We have already taken steps towards digitization and public health through NDHM and Ayushman Bharat schemes respectively. Therefore, the need of the hour is to maximize penetration of the schemes to every corner of the country.
The key aspects that we expect the Union Budget 2022-23 to be focussed around are –
- Financial booster for startups: Startups come up with innovative solutions to various challenges that the sector is facing and supporting them would ultimately be instrumental in generating new and smart practices in the sector. Telemedicine is one of the best examples of such a solution that was brought into existence by startups years ago and proved to be a boon during the pandemic.
- Strengthening primary healthcare sector: The doctor-patient ratio in India is less than what has been recommended by WHO, which is a minimum of 1:1000 doctor-patient ratio. This situation is cause for concern, especially when patients are not able to avail timely healthcare services. Healthcare providers are overburdened with the influx of primary to tertiary patients at once. With an efficient and organised primary healthcare sector, patients can be funnelled out to provide them care as per their condition in primary or secondary facilities. This would additionally help promote early consultation and diagnosis of diseases, further reducing the tertiary disease burden on the system.
- Upskilling the existing workforce: While technology is witnessing fast growth, there is a dire need to educate our existing workforce. This would not just help us implement the latest technology at most of the centres but would also be beneficial in boosting efficiency among the workers. Well-designed training modules and programs should be brought into discussion in the budget.
- Infrastructural development: In a fast-growing economy, health is one of the key aspects of our Union Budget and having adequate infrastructural development in both tier-I cities as well as the smaller cities would be instrumental in enabling better access to healthcare services in every part of the country. Diagnostics, inpatient services, and ambulatory care are at the core of the healthcare system and allotment of funds to promote infrastructural development would help improve access to healthcare services.
Adequate systems of patient data management and EMR solutions are already being undertaken across the nation. The budget allotment this year is expected to focus on maximising the reach of NDHM and Ayushman Bharat schemes to both public as well as private sectors.
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.