The recently conducted Global Burden Of Disease Study reinforced once again the fact that India is still has a lot of catching up to do with its neighbors in terms of health care. The study published in a medical journal, The Lancet, ranks India at a lowly 145th place out of 195 countries in terms of healthcare access and quality (HAQ).
India, which has jumped nine places from last year’s 154th position, still lags behind countries like Sri Lanka (71), Bangladesh (133) and Bhutan (134) in terms of HAQ.
To add to the problem, the study has pointed out the widespread internal disparity in terms of HAQ in India, with a maximum gap of 30.8 (up from 23.4 in 1990).
“Although India’s improvements on the (health care access and quality) HAQ index hastened from 2000 to 2016, the gap between the country’s highest and lowest scores widened (23·4-point difference in 1990, and the 30·8-point difference in 2016),”
The study also reported that India’s performance in tackling diseases like tuberculosis, rheumatic heart diseases, Ischaemic heart diseases, stroke, testicular cancer, colon cancer and chronic kidney disease among others were subpar.
To arrive at a definitive conclusion, the study took into consideration 32 causes of deaths which can be otherwise prevented by the effective medical attention.
Each of the 195 assessed countries was given a score between 0 to 100. The highest scorers were Iceland (97.1), Norway (96.6), Netherlands (96.1), Luxembourg (96.0), and Finland and Australia (95.9 each).
This was also the first time when the study conducted research across regions within seven countries: Brazil, China, England, India, Japan, Mexico, and the US.
“These results emphasize the urgent need to improve both access to and quality of healthcare across service areas and for all populations; otherwise, health systems could face widening gaps between the health services they provide and the disease burden experienced by local communities,” said the study.
Understanding the reasons behind India’s dismal ranking:
One of the major problems with regard to the quality of healthcare in India has been low public spending in the sector. India presently spends a little over 1% of its GDP on public healthcare.
This year’s budget also saw the decline in budget allocation for National Health Mission– India’s largest programme for primary health care by 2.1 percent.