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Scrutiny
  
The bill for the bitter pill!
Planners need to be treated...
25/01/2007

For a nation which is targetting a double-digit growth, the current public health spend of 0.9% of the GDP ($4 per person per year) is shockingly low (out of 175 nations in the UNDP HDR only 4 nations spend lesser than India). Despite all claims of a shining India, it is unfortunate that private health care accounts for almost 70% of primary medical care and 40% of hospital care. In the matter of basic health care facilities, India is far behind international standards. It has 94 beds per 100,000 people, compared to the WHO norm of 333.

The two rounds of household surveys on the state of maternal and child health care, conducted by the Reproductive and Child Health Programme of the World Bank, show serious failures in public health services in India. 197 of 274 districts that were surveyed, reported declining Child immunisation. Polio, DPT and measles vaccination had declined in 191, 199 and 153 districts, respectively.

The country has been shining but more with mounting diseases. The Union Health Ministry itself confirms the staggering deaths by Dengue, Malaria, Chikungunya, Filariasis and AIDS among others. The irony remains that the mounting cases of death due to Dengue across the country (in the past two years), the worst hit has been New Delhi with 3,364 cases and 65 deaths.

With mere 0.9% of the total budget being spent on health, India lives with the ignonimity of being the home to second largest number of AIDS patients (5.5 million patients, the first being South Africa). The so-called shine of the ‘happening’ India then lives only in realm of fancy.

By:- BE Edit Bureau
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