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Developing Indian healthcare: A significant catalyst to the sector’s success

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Vinay K. Mayer, Director of Marketing & Consulting, Asia Research Partners gives a comprehensive overview of the Indian healthcare market

The healthcare industry in India is expected to grow $280 billion by 2025 with the private healthcare sector alone reaching $60 billion. The landscape in India is rapidly evolving, thanks to the country’s ageing population and young workforce that is set to boost demand across all sub-segments. The government’s push towards ensuring access to quality healthcare coupled with the increasing urbanization and growth of the middle-class has led to this sector seeing unparalled growth.

However, the healthcare sector is currently fragmented and unorganized, plagued with an inefficient supply chain, a lack of technology adoption, and low transparency. Find out how India’s Healthcare sector is poised to meet the rising demand.

Statistics comparison: Rural vs urban

The rural population is gaining an education and has started moving towards private hospitals for better, high-quality treatment. The urban population has seen a surge in the number of private hospitals and clinics, with most of them employing advanced technologies for diagnosis. However, there is still a large population who cannot afford quality healthcare due to a lack of proper infrastructure, public insurance policies, or high costs.

The reports have also shown that 70% of the population may not have access to specialist services, as 80% of specialists live in urban areas. Only 13% of the population in rural areas has access to primary healthcare, 33% to a sub-center, and 9.6% to a hospital. Many citizens in urban areas are forced to seek treatment in private facilities due to the poor quality of care offered by state-run hospitals.

Building healthcare infrastructure

While several factors contribute to the deficit, one of the most important is the time and expense required to construct and deliver competent infrastructure facilities.

  • Beds available/population

India is facing a severe shortage of hospital beds and ventilators. There are more than 19 lac unmet patient needs every year in India. The facts show that there are just 2.71 beds per 1000 persons in India as against the global average of 5 beds and the WHO’s recommended standard.

  • Doctors available/population

The country needs about 2 million more doctors by 2030 to achieve a modest doctor-to-population ratio of 1:1,000. According to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, India had 11.57 lakh, allopathic doctors, in 2015, compared to a population of 1.25 billion, and this number would need to rise dramatically in the coming years if the government’s goal of providing health services to every person is to be met.

  • No. of medical seats in India

Over the next five years, the government intends to build approximately 1 lakh MBBS and 60,000 PG seats. Given that nearly 80% of the country’s 11.57 lakh registered doctors are in service, the doctor-patient ratio is currently 1:1,457.

  • Migration of doctors to other countries

For both physicians and nurses, the allure of working abroad is high; researchers estimate that 20 to 50 % of Indian healthcare professionals intend to work abroad for a variety of reasons. Salary and working conditions are generally low in Indian healthcare, especially in the rapidly expanding private hospital sector, with few opportunities for advancement.

  • Government backs the Indian healthcare industry

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has sealed its spot on the list of India’s deadliest healthcare crisis. The most significant obstacle to a successful response in India in the fight against the novel pandemic is a lack of medical investment and healthcare infrastructure.

By 2022, the Indian government is expected to increase healthcare spending to 3% of the GDP. The Union Budget 2020–21 has set aside INR 69,000 crore (US$ 9.87 billion) outlay for the health sector, which includes INR 6,400 crore (US$ 915.72 million) for PMJAY. The government is also bolstering the AYUSH industry by raising awareness about mental wellbeing, decline in communicable diseases, antimicrobial resistance, better nutrition, and the use of digital health and artificial intelligence for social effect and government accountability.

A road map for the future

The country’s healthcare sector has enormous potential to flourish if significant steps are taken to address the country’s healthcare infrastructure deficit. The private sector has gained popularity with national and international recognition and the presence of world-class hospitals and trained medical professionals.

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