Budget 2019: Need more funds for healthcare facilities

Here's a wishlist of the health care industry:

Omnicuris

"With the introduction of central government’s Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection scheme, the burden on healthcare scheme is only expected to rise. As it covers 50 crore households or 500 million people, healthcare isn’t only getting more accessible but also becoming more efficient in diagnosing and treating patients with a strong primary care system in place.  The need of the hour is the primary care system should be strengthened in such a way that they are capable of doing the initial assessment, diagnosis and basic management and appropriate referral if needed be. A thorough assessment and investigation at the primary care or secondary care can lead to a significant saving of resources in the territory level. The government should facilitate more Continuous Medical Education (CMEs) to upgrade their skills which can solve the problem of shortage of trained doctors,"Savitha Kuttan, founder & CEO, Omnicuris, said.   

Jindal Naturecure Institute

“Disease patterns have undergone a significant shift over the last two decades, and the disease burden for non-communicable diseases has gone up. With over 60 % of the deaths caused by NCDs, we are in the midst of a growing epidemic. These diseases require regular visits to the hospital and put a dent in patients’ wallets and there is a growing need to educate people on the benefits of holistic preventive care systems such as yoga and naturopathy. Last year, the Union Government increased the allocation for the AYUSH Ministry by 1630 crores to promote education and research in indigenous systems of medicine. When Mr. Shripad Naik assumed office as Minister of State in the AYUSH Ministry on May 30, he stressed on the need to increase the infrastructure required for the dissemination of indigenous healthcare treatments. We hope that government will increase the budgetary allocation this year, and lay out a roadmap to better integrate the use of naturopathy and yoga as these two systems can be developed with minimum cost into our primary healthcare systems. This will help us reduce the burden of NCDs in the long term and bring down the economic burden of health for patients with limited financial resources,” K. K Ghosh, Chief Administrative Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute, said.

WISH Foundation

"A lot rides on the allocation for the healthcare sector in the upcoming Union Budget, especially considering the fact that the interim budget left a lot to be desired in terms of a concrete future roadmap to improve healthcare delivery systems. Health spending needs to go up from 1.15 % to 2.5 % of the GDP by 2025 if we are to get closer to meeting the UN’s sustainable development goals and achieve universal health coverage.  Although the healthcare sector attracts a lot of investments from private players, most of them go to secondary and tertiary centers while the bedrock of the health industry, primary healthcare, is in shambles with just one primary healthcare center for every 51,000 people.  The proposal to set up 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centers in rural areas by 2022 is ambitious, but the government needs to leverage public-private partnerships to make it a reality. We also hope that the Union Minster allocates resources to roll out more programs that focus on promoting preventive care practices to reduce the disease burden of non-communicable diseases, which are currently responsible for 61% of all deaths in the country, a number that is only set to go up due to rapid urbanization and lifestyle changes," Rajesh Ranjan Singh, COO, WISH Foundation said.

Aster DM Healthcare

"The nation eagerly looks at the Union Budget 2019, to be presented by the first woman Finance Minister of India. I sincerely hope that healthcare shall achieve the required focus in the union budget being a critical sector affecting the marginalized population" Azad Moopen, MD and Chairman, Aster DM Healthcare, said

"There has been a lot of discussion on healthcare spending which is one among the lowest, globally. However, there is a clear intent in this sector through the strategically conceived Ayushman Bharat last year to benefit the economically underprivileged strata of the society. However, the allocation of funds for this has not been matching the size of the problem. There is a requirement for this to be funded completely if it has to be a success. Looking at a conventional estimate, there is a requirement for 1 crore lakhs to give the desired healthcare for 40 to 50 crores of people in 10 crore families. Unfortunately, the allocation last year was less than 10000 crores producing a huge gap. I sincerely hope that this will be addressed as a priority so that the citizens especially the pool in the lower economic strata can have accessibility to quality healthcare. This will fulfill the dream of right of health for all citizens of the country," Moopen added.

"There is a requirement for supporting the private sector for developing infrastructure in Tier II & Tier III cities through viability gap funding. If Ayushman Bharat has to be properly rolled out, there is also a requirement for starting a large number of medical and paramedic colleges to increase the number of doctors and paramedics for improving the healthcare delivery. I hope that this will be looked into as a long-term investment" Moopen noted.

"There is a requirement for focus on preventive care especially in immunization and wellness centers to prevent illnesses rather than treating them. The primary healthcare centers in the country must be made more accessible along with facilities for the public. There is also a requirement for providing the Indian system of medicine through the AYUSH practitioners for preventive and curative care". Moopen said.

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