Though Indian leaders have the intent and can spend Rs 3000 crores to build a statue, it seems the healthcare of its citizens neither comes under a need nor even in priority on an emergency. India has the lowest spending in the world when it comes to per capita expenditure on health of our citizens i.e., Rs 3 per day. We spend 1.04% of the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) which is even lower than the spending of low-income countries on the healthcare.
India’s poor budget allocation on healthcare is now likely to affect India’s position as a polio-free nation.
Amid a global shortage of the injectable inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), Sanofi, a global pharmaceutical company based in France and only supplier of IPV to the Indian government, has decided to raise the price of the vaccine, reported The Telegraph.
IPV Price and its too heavy burden
According to Unicef document, the rate of IPV produced by Sanofi for India and other countries will increase from the current 0.75 euro (Rs 61) to 1.81 euros (Rs 147) per dose in 2019, and to 2.18 euros (Rs 177) per dose from 2020 through 2022.
This shall increase the budget requirement for the vaccine by little less than 100 crores and thus has elicited Indian government to seek fund from an international donor. The Ministry of health has approached Gavi, an organisation which is committed to increasing access to immunisation in poor countries, for the fund. In case India doesn’t get the fund from Gavi and stock of IPV gets empty, then it has to temporarily stop the immunisation program, risking infants to Poliovirus. Experts speaking to The Telegraph have pointed out that India reaching to Gavi for help highlights India’s inadequate budget allocation for its immunisation program.
Gavi, IPV & India’s dependence on others to fund its healthcare
IPV was introduced in polio immunisation program in 2015 in replacement to the oral poliovirus vaccine owing to no risk of vaccine-associated polio paralysis. In the initial year of 2015 & 2016, Gavi gave $16.3 million (Rs 118.8 crore) for IPV immunisation to India with the expectations that India would later use its own fund.
One of the experts said to The Telegraph that India is no longer a poor country and it needs to raise its spending on healthcare. The fund allocated to Ayushmaan Bharat(Rs 2000 crore) is lesser than what was spent on a statue.
Questioning the aid being provided to India, British MP Peter Bone recently said, “To take (pounds) 1.1 billion in aid from us and then at the same time spend (pounds) 330 million on a statue is total nonsense and it is the sort of thing that drives people mad.”
‘What it proves is that we should not be giving money to India. It is up to them how they spend their money but if they can afford this statue, then it is clearly a country we should not need to be giving aid to”, reported Dailymail.