Health System in India: Bridging the Gap between Current Performance and Potential

Health System in India: Bridging the Gap between Current Performance and Potential
Last Date Jun 09,2015 12:45 PM IST (GMT +5.30 Hrs)
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This discussion is now closed. To view the summation of content from this discussion visit our Blog. The topic has now been furthered into nine new discussions along the pillars of ...

This discussion is now closed. To view the summation of content from this discussion visit our Blog. The topic has now been furthered into nine new discussions along the pillars of health systems strengthening. You are invited to contribute actively to these discussions.

Health Information Systems
Human Resources for Health
Availability of drugs, vaccines and other consumables
Public Health
Service Delivery in Health
Using Available Financial Resources in Health as a Tool for Efficiency
Stewardship and Governance in Health
Regulation of Drugs, Food and Medical Practice
Increasing Financial Resources for Health

India has made remarkable achievements in areas like Polio elimination, lowering fertility and disease control. However, our progress in health outcomes has been slower in comparison to other countries with comparable incomes and at similar stages of development. Impressive gains in per capita income should match with increase in life expectancy or health status. We now face a triple burden of disease. Out of pocket expenditures in India is high (70 percent of total health expenditure). This is catastrophic for the poor and pushes an estimated 37 million into poverty every year.

Health is a subject allotted to the State List, under the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution. The Central Government is jointly responsible for items in the Concurrent List.We have one of the most expansive publicly provided networks of health facilities yet issues of regional disparity, access and quality remain. The private sector despite being utilized by the majority of the population also has issues of quality and cost.

Even though the Union Budget allocation for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2015-16 has remained at the level of revised expenditure in 2014-15, an opportunity lies in encouraging States to spend more on the social sector with greater devolution of untied funds following the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission.

India is brimming with possibilities. Successful conduct of election, Census survey, projects in space and atomic sciences are some examples. India is termed as the “pharmacy of the global south”, providing affordable, life saving generic medicines to developed and developing countries. In the same way, there is potential for our health system to deliver optimal outcomes to the population.

The Twelfth Plan charts the path towards strengthening health systems so as to reach the long term objective of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). It is our belief that a Health System Strengthening approach is the solution to bridging the gap between our current status and potential performance. The Health Division of the NITI Aayog invites you to an open and informed discussion to elicit ideas for overcoming the enormous challenges in the sector with limited funds at hand and guide future action at all levels, in our system. Your opinion is important and valued.

Detailed note on the current status of health system in India

We invite your responses on these two questions:

1. How can we maximize health returns from available resources?
2. How can we increase investments in health?

This discussion is open for the next two weeks after which we will post a summary of the ideas generated on the forum. We will also follow-up with a more detailed note on the issues in health system and learning from best practices in the country as well as globally for further discussion. Informed briefs on the above mentioned questions will also be made available after the initial two weeks for more a targeted dialogue.

Comments made by our Division will appear as “NITIHealth”.

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Ravinder Mandayam 5 years 3 months ago

1. How can we maximize health returns from available resources?
A: Tighten the auditing of expenditure accounts which is likely to ensure catching pilferage of precious resources for personal gain, by the administrative staff associated with all Central/State govt funded hospitals.
2. How can we increase investments in health?
A: Focus should be on prevention. Hence need to be able to determine root cause, and to be able to take executive actions, if needed, to remove it from the environment