Tamil Diplomat

Remedying India’s healthcare colossus

Between January and June 2014, 243 people out of 1,000 sought medical treatment within the public healthcare system of India, whereas 756 people out of 1,000 opted to visit a private doctor or private hospital.

This counter-intuitive finding, unusual for the preponderance of poorer patients flocking to paid private services when free public alternatives exist, was part of the 71st survey round of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).

It is well known that the entire public healthcare system, from tertiary care hospitals in large cities to Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in rural areas, is riddled with manpower shortages and inadequate supply of critical drugs and blood, so much so that one healthcare expert with senior government experience described PHCs as the place “where poor people go to die”.