At 1.2% Of GDP, India Spends Less Than Bhutan & Sri Lanka On Public Healthcare: Report

21 Jun 2018 11:39 AM GMT
At 1.2% Of GDP, India Spends Less Than Bhutan & Sri Lanka On Public Healthcare: Report
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India, at present, spends a little over 1% of its total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on its public health expenditure, reveals the National Health Profile (NHP) 2018. Even though this year’s figures have marked a slight improvement from 0.98% in 2014, it continues to shed light on the dismal condition of India’s healthcare system.


Lesser Than Neighbours

The figures truly stand out when compared to other low-income neighbouring countries like that of Bhutan (2.5%), and Sri Lanka (1.6%). When compared, India is only above Bangladesh (0.4%) among ten countries in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) South-East Asian Region.

Even though India’s per capita health expenditure increased from Rs 621 in 2009-10 to Rs 1,112 in 2015-16, it is lesser than many other countries, reported the Times of India.

The NHP, 2018 is an annual compilation of data highlighting the demographic, socio-economic, health status and resources in the country. This report has been published every year since 2005.

This comes at a time when the centre had cleared the National Health Policy 2017, earlier in 2018 and declared that the government is going to increase its public health expenditure to 2.5% by 2025.

Not only that, but the report also draws attention to the fact that India has a shortage of doctors. It states that there is just one allopathic doctor for 11,082 people in the country’s villages. This figure is 10 times worse than the WHO prescribed ratio of 1:1000.

According to NHP (2018), only around 43 crore individuals or 34% of the population were covered under any health insurance in 2016-17.


Out Of Pocket Expenses

The daily reported that while launching the NHP, health minister JP Nadda said National Health Protection Scheme would bring down the “out of pocket expenditure” on health. The Scheme which is also dubbed as “Modicare”, is the world’s largest government-run health care scheme which will cover over ten crore low-income families with an annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family.

However, the report does not talk about the out of pocket expenditure which patients have to bear themselves. According to WHO’s health financing profile of 2017, while world average of out of pocket expenditure is 18.2%, India is at a staggering 67.78%.

A study conducted by Public Health Foundation Of India found that over 54 million Indians are pushed into poverty every year because they fund their own healthcare, including hospital and treatment costs. Meanwhile, another 38 million fell below the poverty line, simply because they had to spend on medicine.

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