How to build a future-ready, resilient healthcare system in India

The Covid crisis stressed the importance of using technology and creativity to improve the healthcare system

India’s public health funding is at 1.6 per cent of GDP, according to the Economic Survey 2020. While the Center is committed to raising this figure to 2.5 percent by 2025, as foreseen in the 2017 National Health Policy, it is estimated that states, too, need to raise spending on health care to at least 8 percent of their budgets. Ayushman Bharat was a landmark achievement in India’s universal healthcare but something needs to be achieved.

It will not only bring quality healthcare, it will also allow creative healthcare solutions and products for IPD and OPD patients to be brought to all Indians’ homes on a sustainable basis. Healthcare was highlighted as part of the announcements, and health spending was announced to increase and community support for health and wellness centers ramped up.

Focus on innovation

The much-needed emphasis on increased investments and ramp-up of health and wellness centres will play a crucial role in disease management and preventive care while ensuring improved healthcare access to all. Likewise, investments in data and technology and in research and innovation will serve as catalysts towards creating a resilient healthcare system.

The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is a multidisciplinary framework that systematically, transparently, unbiasedly, robustly analyses knowledge about medical, social , economic and ethical problems related to the use of health technology.

India is the 52nd most innovative country in the world according to Global Innovation Index 2019.

The key areas we need to focus on are: developing an enabling infrastructure; promoting, identifying and rewarding high-risk innovation; strengthening partnerships between government, industry and academia; and providing incentives for investors to finance these innovations. All of this can only flourish in an encouraging and supportive policy setting.

Covid learnings

It has emerged that collaboration is our greatest lesson. It has worked globally: as part of an international collaboration, coordinated by the WHO, scientists, physicists, funders and manufacturers have come together to help speed up the availability of a vaccine against Covid-19.

Several biopharmaceutical companies are researching vaccine candidates for Covid-19 prevention and collaborating in sharing existing technologies that can be leveraged to enable rapid production upscale once a candidate for a vaccine is identified.

To quote Mahatma Gandhi: “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” A strong foundation for a self-reliant and healthy India lies on Make in India, Innovate in India and Collaborate in India. ReadMore