We shouldn’t spend any more money on healthcare services than what we spend today. No more new hospitals, no more medical colleges, and certainly no more health schemes. First lets make what we spend today work for us. Its not the lack of facilities or lack of equipment which is pulling us back. Its lack of accountability and wastage of resources. The classic example is the UP National Rural Health Mission Scam where 100 Billion Rupees (USD 1.7 Billion) was siphoned off in a brazen wide spread systemic loot of the Mission budget. Atleast 5 people were killed, multiple committed suicide and the entire machinery including the state health minister seems to be involved, and the case is yet to be solved. The biggest waste is the amount of money we spend to build grand buildings for medical colleges, hospitals, urban health centres, clinics and so on. Have a look at these pictures. Yes, these are government built health facilities like physical therapy in englewood, but in India.
Really? do we need this gigantic monstrosity for a hospital to serve ESI beneficiaries?
What are we doing here?? And here is the other side of the coin. These were setup as Community Health Centre in Jalandhar, and this is the current status.
And then there is corruption in the government hospitals. An estimated 2000 Crores per year. All petty corruption like money for seeing a doctor, for medicines, or getting a test done, certificates etc. Not to mention the complete disregard for ethics in many hospitals, disillusioning young doctors at the start of their careers. And all this after spending 33,725 Crores per year, as per our latest budget. Recent announcement of more AIIMS like institutions around the country is not the solution. Large hospitals do not solve our current problems. A relook at the way we spend is needed. Lets fix this by focusing on a. Accountablity and transparency of the money spent on various schemes/projects, to be posted in public domain, available to everyone for scrutiny. b. Budget allocation based on outcomes c. Creating incentives for government hospitals to function more efficiently by either a voucher based system of performance based incentives Till then, lets not start new programs or waste more money. It ok if our spend as % of GDP is much lower than many other countries. We can live with that. What we cannot live with, is a unsustainable approach to our healthcare crisis.