Despite India’s impressive economic progress, its dysfunctional public health system continues to pose a grave threat to the health of Indian patients.
India has a large population of about 1.2 billion people. The country’s thriving private healthcare industry serves the wealthy and a growing middle class. Life expectancy has risen to about 64 years from 58 over the last two decades. However, the majority of the population is still both rural and poor and cannot afford private healthcare.
Most of the population relies on the country’s overstretched and underfunded public health system. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Indian government only invests about 1% of the GDP in public healthcare. Efforts to double national healthcare expenditures fell short in the past.
As a result, many of the government run hospitals are outdated, understaffed, and not hygienic. Patients in public hospitals frequently sleep two to a bed. Hospitals have low supplies of medical devices, forcing many patient families to buy their own. Some families have claimed to spend up to several thousand dollars of their own money on medical supplies. In addition, many of the hospital supplies are not properly sanitized. Hence, bacterial contamination is prevalent.
In response to the growing public healthcare problem, the Indian government is planning to allocate more state funds for public hospital renovations. These improvements will aim to increase the number of hospital beds, obtain sufficient medical supplies, and create proper waiting rooms.