Budget healthcare challenge: India lags behind US, China in doctor-patient ratio

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Feb 01, 2018, 03:39 PM IST

File photo. Photograph:(DNA)

Finance minister Jaitley today declared while presenting the Budget that the government has set the world's largest healthcare programme.

In the real terms, India spends Rs 30,000 around $470 per person in below poverty level(BPL) family.

In Jaitley's Budget this time, the amount has gone upto to Rs 500,000 which is approximately $7830 for a BPL family. The new healtcare plan unveiled in the Budget is expected to benefit 500 million Indians.

There are 132 million Indians already under the health scheme.

Compared to India, in the US a taxpayer spends $7,000 on healthcare with multiple state and federal health insurances present in the system. There is no cap on coverage but it involves complex conditions.

As far as the health of the country is concerned, India still has the highest incidences of tuberculosis in the world. Reports say 4,20,000 Indians died of tuberculosis in 2016.

As a result, India has upped spending on tuberculosis since last year.

The 2018 Budget has not announced any allocation for cancer treatment, even though 1 million new cancer cases are detected every year in India, according to the WHO.

The finance minister will need to revamp 761 district hospitals in the country, although the Budget hasn't announced any hospitals would be built.

The current doctor-patient ratio in northeast and central India is 9.4 to 100,000. In other areas, it is much better at 159 to 100,000 which is about 15.9 doctors for 10,000 people.

In the US, the current doctor-patient ratio is 39.8 doctors for 10,000 people. The current budget does not address the doctor-patient ratio in India.

Further, India has just 9 hospital beds per 10,000 for its rural population, far behind the US which has 46 hospital beds and China which has 42 per 10,000 people.