India turns to the private sector to bring health care to underserved areas
Rakesh Kumar sits patiently in the waiting area of a government hospital in the northern Indian state of Haryana. His brother is undergoing a CT scan after sustaining a head injury.
Kumar had originally taken his brother to a private hospital for the scan, but it was too costly and the wait was several hours long. But here at a government-run hospital in Gurgaon, a city known as India’s financial and technology hub, the wait was just a few minutes and the price was a fraction of the cost of seeking care in the private sector.
The biggest challenge for India’s health care system is to provide care that’s affordable and accessible to its population of 1.3 billion people, almost 70 percent of whom live in rural areas.
Public health care institutions — ranging from primary health centers that form the backbone of the system in rural areas to larger district-level hospitals — are hampered by a lack of manpower and inadequate resources such as diagnostics, pathology services and stock-outs. As a result, most people rely on the private sector for health care, which provides almost 80 percent of outpatient and 60 percent of inpatient care.
- Health Care