Meeting Health Rights by Free Treatment to All Indians: Requirements and Challenges

A day long consultation on the subject ‘Meeting Health Rights by Free Treatment to All Indians – Requirements and Challenges’ is being jointly organized by Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Centre for Budget and Governance, Oxfam India, Centre for Legislative Research & Action, Sama, and Prayas at Dy. Speaker’s Hall, Constitution Club, New Delhi on 4th May 2010 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

The objective of this consultation is to orient and sensitize members of parliament and other important segments of policy planners about this very vital issue and evolve an economical and social model to ensure free treatment to all citizens of India.

Background

The total health spending in India is one of the lowest in the world, and most of it is private expenditure in the form of out of pocket payments. The majority of this payment is on the purchase of drugs and diagnostics, which are priced exorbitantly when bought individually by patients from chemist shops or pharmacies of private doctors, nursing homes, and hospitals. The same medicines are available in one tenth of the cost if bought in bulk.  It is a huge challenge that these medicines at reduced costs, which are essentially the actual prices, will reach citizens. Purchase of medicines individually:

  1. Causes significant rise in the overall cost of treatment
  2. Increases the load of unreasonable and unnecessary drugs, which are the causes of rising drug resistance and iatrogenic morbidities
  3. Leads to higher occurrence of catastrophic illnesses, which require hospitalization because large numbers of patients do not seek treatment until it gets very serious for reasons of non-availability of money
  4. Causes continuing high maternal mortality ratio and child death rates because of lesser use rate of health care services

Participation is only by invitation.