COVID Pandemic has started to test the limits of health infrastructure in Delhi and the country. Today at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital in Delhi, two patients were gasping for air under oxygen masks, lying in the same bed at the casualty ward. It is worthwhile to note that LNJP is one of the premier health centres of Delhi, with 1500 beds. In another incident reported by The Indian Express, an RBS employee had frantically gone to more than nine hospitals in a bid to admit his brother but could not. It was hard for families to get admitted to hospitals owing to the lack of availability of ICU beds. The stories and the tragedies are never-ending, and the cases continue to rise unabated.
Is India Well Equipped To Deal With The Pandemic?
1. 2019 Global Health Security Index - A ranking evaluating pandemic preparedness for countries ranked India at 57 lower than Brazil at 22 and Italy at 31. India dedicates only 1.3% of its GDP to its health sector while Brazil spends 7.5%, Bhutan 3.6%, and Bangladesh 2.2%.
2. The WHO mandates that the doctor to population ratio should be 1:1,000, while India had a 1:1,404 ratio as of February 2020. This doctor-patient ratio is as low as 1:10,926 doctors in rural areas as per National Health Profile 2019.
3. India has 0.53 beds for 1,000 people compared with 0.87 in Bangladesh, 1.1 in Indonesia, 2.11 in Chile, 2.73 in Turkey, 1.38 in Mexico, 4.34 in China and 8.05 in Russia.
4. The World Health Organization (WHO) says close to two-thirds of expenditure on health in India is directly from people's pockets, compared to the world average of 18.2 per cent
Hopefully, collectively we can tide over the pandemic together with minimal loss of lives and livelihood. As we limp back to normalcy, it is paramount to ensure a high priority given to ramping up emergency healthcare.
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