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   Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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Data on Indian Healthcare


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  • Only 10% Indians have some form of health insurance, mostly inadequate
  • Hospitalized Indians spend on an average 58% of their total annual expenditure
  • Over 25% of hospitalized Indians fall below poverty line because of hospital expenses
  • One of the greatest worries is about the cost of health care. This is a realistic concern since 100 million people fall into poverty each year paying for health care. Millions more are unable to access any health care
  • Anaemia and malnutrition are still widespread among children and adults
  • Infant mortality continues to decline, dropping from 68 in 1998-99 to 57 in 2005-06 per thousand births
  • In NFHS-III, 62% of women with two daughters and no sons say they want no more children, compared with 47% in NFHS-II
  • Forty-five percent of women ages 20-24 were married before the legal age of marriage of 18 years during NFHS III (2005-06), compared with 50% during NFHS II (1998-99)
  • Kerala, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu that account for 18.8% of the country's population have health indicators similar to those in more developed middle-income countries such as Venezuela, Argentina and Saudi Arabia

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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