23 Mar : Strongly pitching for Govt investment in health, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said it is neither feasible nor advisable to have a private sector-led health care system in India as majority of the population cannot afford it.
Observing that private sector health care can have a devastating impact on family incomes, he said, “It is pertinent to remember that more than three crore people get impoverished every year on account of such medical expenditures”.
“The need for increasing public sector investment is because of the inability of the majority of Indian population to afford private sector provisioning of health care,” Azad said at a conference on infrastructure building in New Delhi.
He said in India, it is neither advisable nor feasible to have a private sector-led health system like in the USA.
“There is need to have both to cater to the different income segments of our society”.
“With almost one-third of the population still below the poverty-line, high levels of illiteracy and malnutrition, the role of the public sector is not only relevant but essential for providing medical treatment to the poor,” the Minister said.
However, recognising the efficiency of the private sector, he said ancillary services like the laundry, security, diet, sanitation, waste disposal can be provided by private sector in public hospitals.
“Accordingly, we are working on a number of models under which diagnostics such as laboratory services, X-ray, CT and MRI and other high end equipments/services can be outsourced,” he said.