Need to increase the share of healthcare in GDP to 2.5% from 1.0% : Ghulam Nabi Azad
There is a need to increase the share of healthcare in GDP to 2.5% from present level of 1.0%, said Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Government of India in his inaugural Address at the Seminar on “Health and Wellness : Partnering with the Diaspora”. The seminar is being held as part of the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 2012 organized jointly by Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (Government of India), Government of Rajasthan and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at Jaipur.
Mr Azad acknowledged the role played by Indian diaspora in the global healthcare industry and requested their meaningful contribution for improving the health indicators in the country. Government is contemplating on allowing diaspora practitioners having Post Graduate degrees from USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to practice in India, he added. He also solicited their views, inputs and suggestions to improve the healthcare system in the nation.
Highlighting the shortage of skilled manpower in the Indian healthcare system, Mr Azad pointed out paradoxical situation in the country, wherein there is a surplus of about 5 lakh qualified practitioners in Indian system of medicine and shortage of about 7 lakh doctors in allopath stream. To address this situation, the Government has undertaken taken policy reforms to encourage capacity building in medical institutions. These include rationalization of land use for setting medical institutions, placing FDI in healthcare under automatic approval route, and increasing the faculty student ratio in PG Medical Colleges to 1 : 2 from 1 : 1.
Mr T K A Nair, Advisor to Prime Minister of India said that focus of Government of India is to provide accessible and quality healthcare systems to vulnerable and weaker sections of the society and to increase the base of qualified medical practitioners. He urged support of Indian diaspora in promoting India as a hub of innovation, qualified medical experts, and R & D to make the country a great soft power. There is need for exchange of medical professionals among countries, he opined.
Mr P K Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India talked about the diversity in health indicators across the States and also across districts. There is a need to relook at the system of delivery of quality healthcare services with active participation from the local bodies and communities, he said.
Dr Hemant G Patel, Past President – AAPI, called for increased public funding in healthcare. Currently more than three quarters of healthcare expenditure is paid privately with high out of pocket expenses. The growth of the Indian economy will be in jeopardy if preventive and remedial measures are not taken to improve the health of its growing population. Risks posed by rapidly spreading Non Communicable Diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardio vascular diseases is indeed great, he elaborated.
The Seminar comprised of Sessions on ‘Wellness and Welfare : Inclusive Growth in the Health Sector’ and ‘Investment in Health Sector’.
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