• Union Budget 2018: Highlights for the Healthcare of the Underprivileged

    The healthcare industry has spiralled its costs for treatment over the past few years, leaving the underprivileged in a tough spot. The final fifth budget presented by the BJP government before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has stirred a commotion amongst the people of the nation.

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    Comprehensive Healthcare Plan for Every Indian Citizen in Need

    Applying a more holistic approach to the concept of healthcare, the Indian government has promised to establish approximately 1.5 lakh health care centers in order to “bring healthcare closer to home”. These centers are believed to offer comprehensive medical support to pregnant and lactating mothers, childcare services, to people suffering from non-communicable diseases, coupled with a free diagnosis for each section and medical drugs. An amount of Rs.1200 crore has been set aside for this purpose.

    Over and above that, a sum of Rs.600 crore is supposed to be allocated to offer proper medical care and nutritional support to people suffering with Tuberculosis.

    The government is aiming to provide a more holistic medical care to the people of the nation as people cannot comprehend their demographic dividend until they are completely healthy and free of diseases and terminal illnesses.

    Healthcare: Foundation for a Blooming Nation

    The wake of the Union Budget of 2018 has left the people expecting some major changes in the healthcare sector. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on the Modi government to bolster healthcare delivery with a holistic approach. Following are a few of the things that need to be incorporated for effective healthcare delivery, specifically for the underprivileged.

    • Accurate proposals must be introduced by the Budget, in order to properly identify the many pitfalls of India surrounding the healthcare condition.
    • Precise acknowledgment of scanty state spending. The Budget must properly address the fact that the poor are suffering mainly because they are being treated by the private sector, in turn increasing their total expenses incurred.
    • A country with poor health is less likely to efficiently meet its development goals. Hence, the Union Budget 2018 must analyse the current situation from a broader perspective.
    • The Union Budget is expected to introduce a healthcare culture wherein there is an improved access and an easy affordability of medical services. This can be achieved through a combination of public hospitals and a strategic purchase of the private health sector’s services.
    • The Indian Government must prioritise its people’s health by investing more in public hospitals, so that these establishments are better equipped to deal with medical exigencies.
    • A fair share of investment must be allocated to the private health sector as well.
    • The Budget must focus on primary healthcare to reduce the anxiety levied on secondary and tertiary health care.
    • A total overhaul of primary health care is expected from this year’s Budget. This includes strengthening of the hospital infrastructures, financing, capacity and human resources. A fundamental change in the basic operations of the healthcare sector is what is expected.
    • To initiate a greater synergy, the Budget must explore the functioning of other sectors as well. These sectors include cleanliness drives, stringent measures against gender-based or racial violence, reduce the amount of road and train accidents.
    • The Budget must look into the regulation of services provided by the insurance companies. Instead of hospitals making fruitless investments, they can simply use the money to treat their patients better.
    • National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) should be on top of the Union Budget’s agenda list. The Indian government must spend more time training people through it, improving the infrastructure and more.

    There has been a gross misutilisation of funds by the healthcare sector in the past, that being the reason, the Finance Ministry is sceptical to allocate more funds towards the sector. Although, even in places where funds are properly channelled the quality of care provided remains substandard and defective.

    Evidently, more funds allocated to the healthcare sector needs to be paired with advanced infrastructure and structural reforms to make sure there is a great deal of accountability and transparency.

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