Rampant Corruption Just One Challenge In India's Healthcare Struggle
Most of the debate around healthcare touches upon the overall spends and the allocations that follow. Actually some of the worst form of excesses, misappropriations and mismanagement happens under the broad head of health spend in India, as SPR Foundation (IndiaSpend) has repeatedly found. The corruption cases and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raids against Uttar Pradesh Family Welfare Minister Babu Singh Kushwaha only confirms this. The authorities are presently probing irregularities in some Rs 10,000 crore allocated under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to the state. But corruption, as IndiaSpend’s Sourjya Bhowmick finds out, is just one of the many problems that plague India’s healthcare sector and the NRHM. The NRHM was started in 2005 with the intention of rebuilding and strengthening rural health care and increasing public expenditure on health. Expenditure On Health Over the years, India’s minimal public spending has led to de facto privatisation of healthcare in India. For instance, in 2003, private hospitals accounted for 82% of India’s expenditure on health. It was estimated that 70% of all hospitals and 40% of all hospital beds were in the private sector. Total spending on India’s health, as per the National Health Accounts was Rs 1,33,776 crore, during 2004-2005 (before the start of NRHM), or just 4.25% of India’s GDP then. But this figure includes private expenditure and funding from other external sources. Public expenditure was Rs 26,313 crore, approximately 19-20% of the total expenditure on Health. Public expenditure on health, as a part of India’s GDP accounts for 0.9%. Out of pocket expenditure, as a percentage of private expenditure on health, was near 90% in 2007. Here’s a look at what an average person spends on hospital bills
- Indians spend an average of 58% of their total annual expenditure when hospitalised.
- Over 40% of Indians borrow heavily or sell assets to cover expenses.
- Over 25% of hospitalised Indians fall below poverty line due to hospital expenses.