Centre will increase healthcare spending in the next five years: Minister

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 04, 2021

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan   -  PTI

This year, the Centre has already made a substantial increase in the healthcare spend and the Finance Commission has projected a massive increase in the health outlay in the next five years, said Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare.

He was speaking at the 32nd Convocation of Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education & Research, Chennai.

India has faced a lot of challenges since Independence, one among them has been providing quality healthcare and the challenges at providing adequate human resources, infrastructure and introducing change in the healthcare system. “The government is poised to provide all these. India spends about 4.2 per cent of its GDP on healthcare and services as compared to about 18 per cent by many developed nations,” he said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has showcased the contribution of the government sector towards adequate healthcare — both intensive care and otherwise. The Centre is taking up the vaccination drive in a big way, he said.

Presently, the doctor-patient ratio is 1:1700. This should improve to 1:1000 as per WHO norms. There is a definitive move to increase the number of medical colleges, almost one per each district, and also the number of medical graduates. “We are steadily working in this direction,” he said.

Similarly, the number of hospital beds available is 9 per 10,000 of the population. This needs to be immediately increased to 40 per 10,000. The number of people covered under health insurance has to drastically increase from the present 8-10 per cent, he added.

Use of telemedicine

To ensure accessibility of quality treatment for both Covid and non-Covid health issues, in far-flung areas, the use of telemedicine has been promoted in a big way. ‘eSanjeevani’, a web-based comprehensive telemedicine solution is being utilised in 23 states to extend the reach of specialised healthcare services to masses in both rural areas and isolated communities. As of today, more than 11 lakh teleconsultations have been held on this digital platform, he said.

Under Ayushman Bharat, around 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families have been identified as per Socio-Economic Caste Census and they are entitled for a health cover of ₹5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

With continued efforts in providing quality health care services, India has become a reputed destination for medical tourism. A number of patients from foreign countries seek health care services of international standards provided at an affordable cost here, he said.


Published on January 04, 2021

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