Year: 2018 | Month: August | Volume: 8 | Issue: 8 | Pages: 279-283
Global Lessons for Universal Health Care
Dr. S.N. Misra1, Mr. Sanjaya Kumar Ghadai2
1Dean & Professor, School of Management, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Deemed to be University, Campus-7, Krishna Campus, Bhubaneswar, Khordha, Odisha, Pin-751024
2Research Scholar, School of Management, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Deemed to be University, Campus-7, Bhubaneswar, Khordha, Odisha, India, Pin-751024
The World Bank and the WHO have come out with a disturbing finding that 50% of global population does not have the benefit of essential health service such as antenatal care, basic treatment for malaria, HIV and TB. Nobel laureate Angus Deaton has found that country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and life expectancy are correlated in a positive way. Primary health care is, therefore, extremely critical for all developing countries. In particular lack of adequate surgical facility makes surgery the neglected step child of global health. Universal health care has become not only imperative but inescapable for low income countries. The study brings out how Japan reached 80% universal health care when its GDP was low and how Thailand and Rwanda, a low income country have achieved significant reduction in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) due to their universal health care programme. The paper laments that the promise of increasing allocation for national health from 1.5% to 2.0% in National Health Policy (NHP) (2002) has remained unimplemented and is concerned as to whether the promise to increase it to 2.5% by 2025 in National Health Protection Scheme, 2017 would be realized. The paper takes note of the initiative of the present government to provide medical insurance cover to 100 million families by bolstering its earlier programme of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) which covered only 36 million Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. The concept of establishing wellness centres in each district with comprehensive health care for the old and infirm is commendable. The health policy makes a significant departure from the British model of universal health care, which put a premium on improving health care infrastructure, diagnostics and basic medical care throughout U.K. and instead opt for the costly American model of outsourcing its responsibility to the private medical insurers. The health and family welfare is a state subject under the Constitution and receive a short shrift in terms of allocation and policy priority. The paper strongly argues that a healthy society with assured medical care and infrastructure and a universal health care system can be a true precursor to durable growth and happiness.
Key words: GDP, IMR, NHP, RSBY, BPL.