President Pranab Mukherjee said at a recent press conference that India needed a robust health infrastructure and trained personnel to ensure effective, affordable and universally accessible healthcare. He was speaking at the inauguration of the Mid-Term Meet 2015 of the National Interventional Council of the Cardiological Society of India in the national capital.
"A developing country like India needs a universally accessible, affordable and effective healthcare which can be acquired only by having a robust healthcare infrastructure, trained and motivated personnel, and better access to medicines and equipment," said Mukherjee. He said that the situation of the health needed to be improved as in India there were seven hospital beds per 10,000 population as against 23 in Brazil, 38 in China and 97 in Russia. "In terms of healthcare professionals, we again lag behind other BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries. There are seven physicians per 10,000 population in India, compared to 19 in Brazil, 15 in China and 43 in Russia," he said.
"Though schemes like the National Health Mission have improved service delivery, health services in India still suffer from the lack of reach and constraints of quality," he added. Considering that India's public expenditure on health was meagre, Mukherjee said that a significant rise in health expenditure was urgently required to ensure universal health coverage. "A health insurance mechanism that can take care of all is the need of the hour. As per estimates, about 216 million people in India or 17 percent of the population were covered under various health insurance schemes as at end-March 2014." "We need to do much more to bring the uncovered population under the health security net. An insured population will also be a healthy population, which will exhibit a greater propensity to seek education, acquire knowledge and access job opportunities. Good health and fitness of the people will truly be a reflection of our country's progress," he said.