DNA, January 12, 2015

The healthcare service delivery system in the country and that of Rajasthan in particular came up for a dissection on Friday during a seminar jointly organised by the Indian Institute of Health Management and Research and CUTS International.

While Prof VS Vyas, deputy chairman of the state planning commission and member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister chaired the seminar, Prof Abhijit V Banerjee spoke on the supply and demand in healthcare as Prof Amitabh Chandra discussed the wider issue of health insurance in healthcare.

Also present on the occasion was Ashok Agarwal, trustee of IIHMR, ML Mehta, trustee secretary of CUTS and other dignitaries.

“While we are better off in the social and education sectors, India is at the bottom of the list even amongst developing nations in healthcare. And within the country, Rajasthan is a laggard. In none of the indicators of health we are doing credible and at this level we will not be able to meet the millennium development goal,” felt Prof Vyas.

Recalling the time when he was doing a survey for Seva Mandir in Udaipur, Abhijit Banerjee felt that there should be better regulation and training of private doctors and that the demand in health care services will have to be addressed and supply will automatically be taken care of.

“The survey which covered 100 hamlets from 362 villages in Udaipur found that even among those below the poverty line, most people go to the doctor for treatments that heal on its own or are not so significant. For more deadly diseases, people go to bhopas or quakes,” he said.

“The survey tried to predict the time when the ANM would be present but that proved to be most difficult. On the supply side, while people felt that an injection is the best medication, the government doctors rarely choose to inject and if they did, they did so illegally,” he said.

A strict monitoring of nurses who stayed away from duty brought them back to work but after sometime it was back to the old system. “Even if the nurses choose to come, patients failed to come to the hospital. As a result, the nurses in collusion with their higher ups choose to remain mostly on training which gave them an opportunity to stay way from work and not get penalised,” he said.

Prof Chandra felt that health insurance was necessary but it was more important to decide what should be covered in and what not. Often medications that are costly but fail to increase life was not covered under it, he felt.

This news can also be viewed at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/