Mr Jagat Prakash Nadda, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, announced that his Ministry would constitute a Working Group to provide a platform for comprehensive dialogue among the stakeholders, particularly private sector, for successful implementation of private public partnership (PPP) programs in the health sector.
Mr Nadda was speaking at the 12th CII India Health Summit today in New Delhi. He added that there are very successful PPP models being implemented in states like Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. “Our intention is to collate these experiences, adapt them to the requirement of each state so that every state has a special program to be implemented in a time bound manner”, he added.
The Health Minister opined that there are several missing gaps in the health chain of India mainly on account of the resource constraints and also wide disparity among the states in the delivery of health services. For instance, he pointed out that while South and Western regions have a relatively stronger health infrastructure, North and East are lagging behind. Also, the secondary and tertiary sectors in health have improved over a period of time; primary health centers spread across the rural areas are facing challenges in terms of lack of facility, manpower and equipment. “This is an area where we invite the private sector to work together with the Government in mitigating the gaps”, he added while responding to a suggestion from Dr Naresh Trehan that there could be critical areas where private sector could complement and supplement the efforts of the Government in strengthening the PHCs.
Mr Nadda said that under the federal structure in India, health is a state subject. The role of the Centre is limited to that of a catalyst in spreading awareness and addressing to certain critical issues like creating model legislations and setting up centers of excellence for health like AIIMS. Therefore, in any dialogue, be it for finding alternative channels for financing health, drawing up regulatory mechanism, ensuring universal health insurance cover etc., states have to be involved.
Sketching the progress achieved by the health sector in India, Mr Nadda observed that Rs 1,32,000 crore has been spent on strengthening the health infrastructure. The progress achieved in the case of immunization, reducing the child mortality etc. is impressive. “But we have to go a long way to catch up with the goal of universal health. We have identified 184 districts that need greater attention for strengthening the health infrastructure. Once that is achieved, we will definitely make incremental progress in our health status”, the Minister added. He also mentioned about the successful HIV / AIDS control program of the Government, which has enabled free treatment to 1 lakh afflicted people. Also, new medical colleges and cancer centers are opened across the country to address the emerging health problems.
The Minister said that National Health Policy was already in the public domain and invited the suggestions from the private sector as to how to fine-tune them. Also, information technology would be increasingly used for treatment. In this regard, he said that an E-Blood Banking will be launched and the drug regulatory system would be strengthened. Importance will be given to preventive and curative treatments. Under the Swatchh Bharat launched by the Prime Minister, he said that his Ministry would spend Rs 1,750 crore for keeping the hospitals and premises clean. Also, the Government will be undertaking grading of hospitals to make the people aware of the services available, quality of the medical professionals and para-medical staff and the prices at which services could be availed.
Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman, CII Healthcare Council and CMD Medanta, stressed the need for breaking the barriers among government, private and NGOs in implementing the health programs across the country. Mentioning about the pilot program that his hospital was undertaking in Haryana under Mission TB Free India, he said that digital radio diagnostic equipment are being deployed at PHCs to detect TB which could not be diagnosed with the sputum test.
Mr Rahul Khosla, Co-chair CII Healthcare Council and MD, Max India Ltd, underscored the need collaboration between the public and private health players in skilling the medical professionals, spreading the insurance cover and strengthening the medical infrastructure. He wanted an “engagement model” to be evolved between the public and private sectors which can align the expertise of both judiciously.
Ms Suneeta Raddy, MD, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd, wanted extensive use of internet and mobile technology to ensure easy access to the common man from far flung area to the hospital facilities and quick diagnosis of diseases.
Mr Malvinder Mohan Singh, Chairman, CII Services Council and Executive Chairman, Fortis Healthcare Ltd, underscored the need for evolving quality standards to be followed by the hospitals and doctors. He also stressed the need for spreading greater awareness among the people particularly the youngsters for preventing life style diseases.