World Health Day 2021 is an opportunity for everyone to express their gratitude to the healthcare professionals who have worked tirelessly to save the lives of coronavirus patients. The pandemic has pushed scores of people into poverty and amplified health inequalities.

Inequality in health care delivery in India is a major concern that requires the serious attention of all stakeholders. This has pushed India, facing the characteristic double parallel burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), to back down in terms of accessibility and affordability.

The surge in noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and stress as well as old age infections and malnutrition have become evident with this change. The emergence of COVID-19, dengue fever and swine flu has further increased the burden of disease. While policymakers say health is a priority, this is not yet clearly reflected in their funding model. Currently, the private sector spends more than double the amount of government funding. The high personal expenditure (nearly 65 percent) indicates its potential to push large numbers of people into poverty. Therefore, the elimination of health equality remains a dream for the country.

“COVID-19 has made us aware of the need to achieve universal health coverage, as soon as possible. We realized that there are big gaps in the provision, accessibility and cost of health care. The public sector is still the first line of defense in fighting a pandemic like COVID-19. Unfortunately, the public sector health system lacks adequate resources for critical care, including ICU beds and manpower, where the private sector has the advantage. Public hospitals should adopt the best hospital management practices of the private sector. Private hospitals must also optimize their cost structure in order to eliminate health inequalities. It is therefore necessary that the public and private sectors develop a working synergy through which the Indian health system can improve considerably. There are over 3000 private hospitals with a bed size of over 100 beds and with adequate tertiary care infrastructure. Then there are 25,000 hospitals with a bed size between 30 and 100 and another 40,000 smaller hospitals with a bed strength of less than 30. If the Center and state governments use these providers, India can easily build its capacity to deal with both noncommunicable and noncommunicable diseases. Communicable diseases, including COVID-19 ”, says Dr Girdhar Gyani, Managing Director of the Association of Healthcare Providers-India (AHPI)“ We need to bring public hospitals and best practices closer to private providers to eliminate inequalities for a healthier India. . The current national agenda calls for an immediate focus on rural health care delivery systems, including tribal and inaccessible areas, which constitute nearly 60% of the population hitherto deprived of progress in health and management. diseases, which can come from the rapid establishment of health and welfare centers. as envisioned under Ayushman Bharat, ”says Dr Alexander Thomas, AHPI National President.

For a healthier India, technology can be a game changer. India recently launched the Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP), the revised next-generation digital platform of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP), which is the largest online disease surveillance platform. in the world. Previously, Aarogya Setu and COWIN Apps have proven India’s digital health capabilities.

A recent McKinsey report predicted that by 2025, 50 million households will perform virtual consultations under a subscription model. This will have a huge impact on current healthcare delivery systems.

Rajneesh Bhandari, Founder, NeuroEquilibrium points out that telehealth is disrupting OPDs in hospitals. In the United States, telemedicine has grown from less than 1% of total OPD consultations to over 50%, with over a billion telehealth interactions in 2020. In India, the number could be even higher.

“Innovations would be the force multiplier to solve both accessibility and affordability issues. The marginal cost of providing super-specialized services can be drastically reduced, ”he adds.

“Inequalities must be eliminated for a more just world for all and all stakeholders must work collectively to achieve this goal. A robust healthcare delivery system supported by technology and innovations can help create a new health economy in which accessibility, affordability, awareness and quality are the main components, ”emphasizes Dr Archana Dawan. Bajaj, Nurture.