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'Low cost key to private-public health services in villages'

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 08:12:45 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Partnership between public and private healthcare providers requires accessibility, affordability and accountability to take the benefits to rural areas, health experts said Wednesday.

"Health has been on the back burner in our country. A sense of urgency is required to bring both government and private companies (together for) action. To make healthcare accessible, we need to take affordability into account," said Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director of Medanta - the medicity.

Representatives from health care centres in the private sector such as Apollo hospital, Fortis hospital, Max Hospital and the World Bank gathered at a forum on making public health accessible.

"The existing healthcare infrastructure in rural areas is totally insufficient in terms of services. The influx to urban areas in search of better treatment is bound to happen," Trehan added.

Echoing Trehan's view, Anupam Sibal, group medical director of Apollo hospitals, said: "I think accreditation should be popularized for rural health care centres also. Only then we can have a sense of quality amongst heath centres in rural regions."

According to a National Rural Health mission report, there are nearly 25,000 primary health centres in the country. The report said that the centres are facing a manpower crunch.

"Policy-oriented and technology-driven changes need to come from the private stake holders, while the government can help in their implementation," added Sibal.

A white paper was also released in the forum, after a nationwide study on the status of the healthcare was conducted by a consultancy firm.

According to the study, over 3.2 percent of the population is driven to poverty every year due to healthcare expenditure.

Urban areas have six times more doctors per capita as compared to rural areas, the study said.

The forum, organized by Technopak management consultancy, saw participation from various government hospitals and medical representatives in the country.

"The government needs to get into a mission mode to improve health services in the country. That's one way to reduce the gap between demand and supply of services," Arvind Singhal, chairman of Technopak, told IANS.

Representatives from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Ram Manohar Lohia hospital and Safdarjung Hospital were also present at the forum.







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