In the war against Covid-19, the central and state governments have shown great readiness to meet the medical needs of the people. The medical facilities and capabilities are being improved every hour especially for the investigation and treatment of corona infected patients. More and more ventilators are being arranged in view of the needs of corona virus patients. The sensitivity the government has shown in the war against the corona virus should be praised, whether it is the declaration of lockdown or the expansion of medical facilities. But the question is, have we paid enough attention to the construction of public health system in the country?
It is possible that India will be able to fight the Corona crisis much better than other countries, but it is also noteworthy that most countries are spending a larger share of their GDP than ours on the health system. China, from where the corona virus has spread to all countries of the world, spends 2.9 percent of its GDP on health services, while Brazil accounts for about 4.4 percent. Even though the US has the highest number of corona virus-infected patients in the world, it spends more than eight percent of its GDP on people’s health. Even Iran spends about 4.4 percent of its public health infrastructure. We are definitely better than neighboring Pakistan in many respects, but when it comes to healthcare, our status is hardly good. He spends 0.9 part of his GDP on public health, While we share only 1.1 percent. Unfortunately this picture has hardly changed in the last two decades.
The problem of ailing public health system in India is not just low government investment, but also the problem is that here money is not spent in the right place. The major part of the health budget is spent on providing treatment facilities to the patients, while the part of the health services that protect against the disease is very small. For example, improving immunization, disease screening or similar services. It is also sad that despite spending a large part of the budget for the betterment of treatment services, there have been no satisfactory results in this case. It is, therefore, not surprising that when a survey is conducted among IAS officers of 410 districts to prepare to deal with the corona crisis, most IAS officers point out the lack of basic services like beds and ambulances in district hospitals. The health of the government health system in the country is so bad that most people rely on private hospitals for treatment, While treatment there is very expensive. The lower and weaker income class also prefers to go to private hospitals to handle expenses.
A study conducted in 2017 by the Center for the Study of Developing Studies, ie CSDS, shows that the people of the country have low trust in the government health system, due to which relatively few Indians want to benefit from the country’s public health services. . About 57 percent of the people admitted to going to a government hospital in the last one year, while 41 percent admitted not going to a government hospital. However, there is a difference, as a large number of the poor (58 per cent) admit that they go to a government hospital, as they have no other option, while about 60 per cent of the upper and middle class people voluntarily go to the government. Preferred to go to the hospital. It is clear that the upper and middle classes go to the government hospital on their own because they are able to get treatment without difficulty by taking advantage of their connectivity, whereas the poor do not have this facility.
The study also shows that a large number of poor population (62 per cent) go to a government hospital because the treatment is cheaper, almost free. There are mainly two reasons for most Indians not to go to a government hospital – first, lack of quality treatment and second, the critical condition of other health services like beds and medicines. About 32 per cent of Indians believe that treatment in a government hospital is not easy, but rather difficult, as patients have to wait a long time before meeting doctors.
Obviously, the amount we are spending now on our health services is not satisfactory. We will come out of the Corona crisis soon, but for the long term it is necessary that the government should focus on building a more stable and better health system in the country. A CSDS study shows that 32 per cent of Indian government hospitals are willing to pay more for better treatment, but most people (62 per cent) are looking towards the government with hope for health care. However, this confidence is not broken yet, as there have been some improvements in government health services. 52% of Indians included in this study confirmed that the facilities of government hospitals have definitely improved in the past few years. But it still has a long way to go. We can take this lesson from this corona crisis.


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