Despite India’s progress in the health sector, many areas still need policy intervention to reach the goals of quality, affordable and accessible health care, according to the Economic Survey that was tabled in parliament on Thursday said.
One of the major issues that Economic Survey points out is that Out of Pocket expenditure still remained a major issue in health care expenditure. However, it also says that there was a decreasing trend in Out of Pocket Expenditure from 2013-14 to 2015-16. It also says that public health expenditure had increased during that period that had somewhat led to a decrease in Out of Pocket Expenditure. The survey says that the Public health expenditure of the various governments, be it centre, state or local bodies, increased to 30.6 per cent in 2015-16 from 22.5 per cent in 2004-05.
The Economic Survey also says that inflation in health was more prominent in the rural areas than urban regions, mainly because of constrains in the supply side.
The Survey also talks of Medical Tourism, which it says that government had given much prominence. It says that the government had taken many initiatives in promoting medical tourism in the country. The Survey says that medical tourism is pinned at nine billion dollars in 2020. Noting that there was a steady growth on the arrivals on medical visa, the survey says when the numbers stood at 1,39,447 in 2014, it was 4,95,056 arrivals in 2017.
With regard to rural health care system, one of the major impediments that was seen is that medical professionals were hard to be retained in the rural regions. The government has niot been able to ensure regular presence of medical professionals in the rural region, the survey points out. It also states that there was lack of proper facilities in the rural areas that has added to the worse situation.