• The Fifteenth Finance Commission has called for a greater role for public-private partnerships to ramp up the health infrastructure and scale up public spending on health.
Issues with health infrastructure:
• Skewed nature of health infrastructure: The poorest part of the country has worst infrastructure.
• Low patients to doctor ratio: 1:1456 against 1: 1000 (WHO recommendation).
• Poor working conditions of doctors: Doctors in many States are engaged on a contract basis.
• Both centre and states need to improve their public outlay with special focus on primary health centres and the private sector must be roped in for levels of specialty.
• Increase the health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP by 2024 by the Centre and states, as envisaged in the 2017 health policy from the current 0.95% of GDP.
• Create a cadre for medical officers as mentioned in the All India Services Act 1951.
• Greater recognition to frontline health workers who continue to play a crucial role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• District hospitals can become great grounds for training paramedics, creating health and employment multipliers.
• Develop a comprehensive plan to build a uniform quality of medical education across the country to avoid disparity in the payment of salaries.
Mains Paper 2: Health
Prelims level: public-private partnerships
Mains level: Issues with health infrastructure and key suggestions