`Healthcare needs urgent attention and investment`

Mumbai: The investment deficit in the healthcare sector could be bridged through public private partnership (PPP) among other measures, a senior Planning Commission official said today.

"In India, healthcare sector needs urgent attention and investment. One way to address the deficit is through public private partnership models," said Advisor on infrastructure to Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Gajendra Haldea.

He was speaking at a conference `Nurturing Best Practices on PPPs in Healthcare`, based on theme of public private partnership policy framework, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.

"India is one of the largest countries in many sectors but our healthcare is in shambles. There`s a lot to be done and the need is to do it quickly," he said.

He added bailing out the sector could be achieved by emulating example of other sectors such as infrastructure.

"Infrastructure projects were in shambles once. But they have come up recently because there`s a model framework in place and the government paid the attention that the sector demanded. We need to pick up lessons from infrastructure and see if it can be replicated in healthcare," Haldea said.

The largest challenge in doing so is to frame policy that can be customised with ease and replicated across the country, he added.

He further said: "In healthcare the main challenge is not the initial capital expenditure. It is actually funding the recurring costs. The government has to step in to ensure that the recurring cost can be subsidised or taken care of in some way".

"The Indian challenge in healthcare is unique. It demands scale and simple, reliable models that can be customised to unique local requirements.

"The responsibility of the private sector is to standardise PPP while the government needs to expand opportunities for private sector growth in the sector," said Thomas Davenport, Director, South Asia International Finance Corporation.

Vivek Desai, Chairman, CII WR Healthcare Sub-Committee & Managing Director, Hosmac India, said success of PPP exp-experiment in Indian healthcare will require a two-pronged strategy.

"One is to have a model, broad framework for the PPP agreement to benefit all the parties. Secondly, the revenue models need to be put in place without which it is difficult for healthcare to give returns on investments," he said.


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