Affordability of healthcare a serious problem: Hamid Ansari
Affordability of health care is a serious problem for the vast majority of population with the healthcare workforce being inadequate and underutilised, Vice President Hamid Ansari said on Wednesday.
New Delhi: Affordability of health care is a serious problem for the vast majority of population with the healthcare workforce being inadequate and underutilised, Vice President Hamid Ansari said on Wednesday.
"Healthcare infrastructure gaps remain substantial, healthcare workforce remains inadequate and underutilised. Regulatory standards for public and private hospitals are not adequately defined and, in any case, are ineffectively enforced.
"An effective regulatory system is required to manage the large and diverse set of healthcare service providers," said Ansari while addressing the '5th Foundation Day and 2nd Convocation of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS)' here.
The lack of extensive and adequately funded public health services pushes large numbers of people to incur heavy out of pocket expenditures on services purchased from the private sector, he said adding that the situation is further aggravated by the inequity in healthcare delivery across states and demographic segments.
"Rural areas are especially poorly served. Around 70 per cent of our population lives in rural areas but only two per cent qualified doctors are available in these areas," he stressed.
The problems, he said, are likely to worsen in future with the healthcare costs expected to rise with rising life expectancy and a larger proportion of our population becoming vulnerable to chronic non-communicable diseases which typically require expensive treatment.
Ansari opined that the bulk of the population today relies upon private sector health providers, paying amounts which they cannot afford, because of the inadequate reach of the public sector.
"There must be substantial expansion and strengthening of the public sector health care system if we are to meet the health needs of rural and even urban areas. As supply in public sector increases, it will free the vulnerable sections of society from dependence on high cost," he said.
"The ILBS is a fine example of what the public sector can do and must do in the actualization of our desired goal to have a universal health coverage and thereby ensure healthy and economically productive population," Ansari said.
He complemented all members of the governing council of the ILBS, Dr S K Sarin and his team for making the coveted vision of establishing new super-speciality medical institute a reality.
On the occasion, the Vice-President also released a mobile app called "iLap" developed by the doctors at ILBS.
The app is freely available online in Google Play store.
"It will help the patient in diagnosis of liver diseases, provide information on the causes of liver disease and answer doubts in a patients mind regarding liver transplantation.
"The purpose of this app is to provide the patient and his family with information regarding the disease he is suffering from, how to follow up in OPD, what tests to be done on follow up and give the doctors at ILBS a constant feedback about the treatment - providing a personalized touch and care," said Dr Sarin.
Also, a new building having 220 beds for ILBS is being constructed by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).