Health spending: poor


By G.S. Mudur
  • Published 15.11.17

New Delhi: An international medical journal has decried the Narendra Modi government's pledge made earlier this year to increase India's healthcare spending from the current 1.3 per cent to 2.5 per cent of the gross domestic product, calling it "lack of ambition."

"We are disappointed by the lack of ambition of (Prime Minister) Modi's government to invest only 2.5 per cent of its GDP into healthcare by 2025, when the global average for countries is about 6 per cent," The Lancet , among the world's leading medical journals, said.

The Union health ministry had in March outlined a new health policy setting the 2.5 per cent goal which, health experts have pointed out, merely iterates a target set 15 years ago without clarity on the roadmap to achieving it this time round.

The Lancet , in an editorial accompanying a research report that outlines India's burden of diseases for the first time at the state level, said state initiatives in health should not diminish the responsibility of the Centre to increase public investment in health.

"The rise in India's economic fortunes and its aspiration to progress to the same level as its neighbour, China, is something of an embarrassment, given how improvements to health trail so far behind," the journal said in the commentary. "Until the federal government in India takes health as seriously as many other nations do, India will not fulfil either its national or global potential."

Health experts have pointed out that India's healthcare spending as a proportion of GDP is among the lowest in the world and that universal healthcare offering free diagnosis, medicines and treatment services will remain unachievable without dramatic spikes in spending.