By Sunitha Anandan |
September 12, 2018
India’s healthcare system is diversified and vast, and continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors. The rise in communicable and “lifestyle” diseases, growing & ageing population, and growing demand for affordable healthcare have resulted in a surge in the Indian healthcare industry to touch USD 372 billion by 2022.
According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) report:
But despite this growth, the Indian healthcare industry is facing a plethora of challenges. Some of them are:
Poor Healthcare Infrastructure
India has 0.7 physicians per 1000 individuals, compared with the WHO’s norm of 1:1000 and 1 bed for every 1050 individuals resulting in acute shortage of resources and doctors.
Disparity in Urban and Rural Healthcare
Private healthcare sector delivers about 80% of all outpatient care and 60% of all inpatient care. Majority of the hospitals and doctors are located in urban areas, leaving rural areas under served.
Despite the private healthcare sector delivering about 80% of all outpatient care and 60% of all inpatient care, a majority of population below the poverty line continue to rely on the low-funded and short-staffed public sector for its healthcare needs.
Low Government Spending
Of the total healthcare expenditure, India’s government spending on health is only 1.2% – which is much lower than the WHO recommendation of 5%. Thus, most Indians pay out-of-pocket expenses to cover their healthcare needs. India’s out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare is one of the highest globally, at 68%.
Lack of Healthcare Monitoring
A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report showed that the Health Ministry’s real-time Health Management Information System (HMIS) portal lacked basic infrastructure data of the healthcare facilities and had wide-ranging discrepancies in the reported data.
However, the Government of India has been taking initiatives to promote the Indian healthcare industry:
In addition to government initiatives, active collaboration of all stakeholders and use of innovation to bridge the gaps will enhance the penetration of healthcare to all sectors and at a much more affordable price. The existing challenges create an avenue of vast opportunities for companies, especially private players, thus making India one of the leading destinations for healthcare investment globally.