For a population that stands beyond 1.25 billion and has over 70per cent of it residing in rural locations, healthcare delivery stands as a major challenge for one of the fastest growing country in the world. India spends nearly 1. 5per cent of its GDP on healthcare but the overall healthcare infrastructure (medical facilities, trained medical workers and doctors) remains quite weak till date.

If we go by the statistics, the Indian healthcare industry is about $158 billion in size and is expected to be $280 billion by 2020, reaching nearly twice its current strength in the coming 4 years. There are new developments in disease management and cure and hospitals are now deploying technology to provide an accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and improve on their patient management quotient. The numbers of hospitals in the country with state-of-the-art facilities are growing every year and the investment in this segment has been one of the highest in comparison to other sectors. There has been equal importance given to this sector by the government with a strong focus on improving the delivery model and also on the use of technology to further enhance the existing model.

Where are the Gaps for one of the Fast

The biggest gap lies in the lack of proper infrastructure, existing delivery model and the lack of trained professionals in the sector. Most of the leading private hospitals and medical professionals, that have all defined facilities and experienced doctors, are focussed on metro locations creating a huge void in the rural areas of the country. Also, the cost of treatment at these facilities hampers the treatment possibilities for a majority of the population that do not have access to medical insurance. As per data, nearly 76per cent of the Indian population does not have adequate health insurance.

Another major concern is the number of medical colleges in the country and its capacity (in numbers) to create quality medical professionals every year. There are only about 60,000 medical seats available every year across government-run and privately held colleges in India. The number of doctors per year to the number in population growth (1.5 million babies are born per day compared to 0.4 million deaths per day) is highly unstable and this will keep creating a further gap in the doctor to patients ratio. The primary healthcare centre, at present, is short of 3000 doctors and for every 1800 people in the country; we have one doctor. This is a huge gap in the delivery model. As per an RTI report, there has been 80per cent growth in the rise in the number of a student applying for medical education abroad. This is a reflection on the lack of current medical education infrastructure that will lead to ‘brain drain’ of a capable set of people to other nations.

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