India is battling a full-blown health crisis and the above-mentioned conclusion by a Lancet study should be treated as a warning to our policymakers. Research reveals a dangerously rapid epidemiological transition and a rising burden of non-communicable diseases.
“Until the federal government in India takes health as seriously as many other nations do, India will not fulfil either its national or global potential”
The country is far away from achieving its Sustainable Development Goals: India will miss its global nutrition targets set for 2025 and is ranked 145th among 195 countries in terms of accessibility and quality of healthcare. Dismal infrastructure and the surging medical bills pushed 5.5 million Indians back to poverty last year. However, government spending on healthcare is still lower than the global average and India is relying on the government’s flagship health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat for healthcare reforms.
Now is the right moment to debate the future health of the world’s largest democracy. In April 2019, the Indian electorate will vote in the most important general election since India achieved independence in 1947. So, before the Indians vote for the next government, it is essential for them to understand the state of healthcare, reflect upon the challenges and arrive at possible solutions. This is necessary so that a roadmap can be laid for the next government to usher in health reforms.
India’s health policy news portal, Health Issues India, is planning a healthy discussion on health and politics. The forum will include policymakers and health experts to brainstorm over crucial issues. The aim is to push the health agenda into the election manifestos of political parties and highlight the public health concerns facing India.
The discussion aims to discuss the following questions
- What is a bigger challenge: access to healthcare or quality of healthcare?
- How can India overcome unequal access to healthcare?
- Can Ayushman Bharat make healthcare affordable?
- Can the raising of health expenditure from only 1.4% of India’s GDP be an effective solution?
- How does India respond to its current health challenges?
- How can India build on digital innovations to increase healthcare effectiveness?