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Govt should focus on capital for transformation of healthcare industry: Dr Harsh Mahajan

Gireesh Babu, New Delhi
Saturday, October 23, 2021, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Even as the healthcare industry in the country is seeing a decline in the workload from Covid-19 infections of late, a few more steps from the government, including focus on bringing in more capital, are needed to improve the performance of healthcare services. The industry has seen an increased growth of 20 per cent in the recent past compared to last year, said Dr Harsh Mahajan, president of Healthcare Federation of India (NATHEALTH).

“The government should focus on bringing in more capital so that the healthcare industry can observe much required transformation in terms of scaling up adequate infrastructure which is still considered as a huge gap,” he said in a recent interview to Pharmabiz.

Additionally, the healthcare industry expects that the pricing of the various government schemes for providing healthcare delivery should be based on actual costing and not randomly selected. The government and the private sector need to bridge the trust deficit that still exists between the two and work collaboratively in order to ensure the last-mile reach of quality healthcare delivery.

Last mile healthcare delivery does not only mean expanding the reach of healthcare services, but there should be a quality assurance, the access should be continuous, without interruptions.

The viability of the entire healthcare industry as a whole needs to be maintained so that the Indian healthcare industry can attract more funding, and India can achieve universal healthcare coverage soon.

He said that the Centre’s recent announcement of Rs. 50,000 crore loan guarantee scheme for up-scaling medical infrastructure and additional budgetary allocation of Rs. 23,220 crore for public health and pediatric care is a step in the right direction. This would support the upgradation of healthcare facilities and also there are new green field projects that are coming up.

“The government needs to ensure that retrieval of these loans are facilitated in a hassle-free manner. A single window clearance for these loans and projects would be highly beneficial for utilization of these funds and for improving healthcare infrastructure,” he added.

In terms of industry growth last year’s growth was abysmal in the first quarter as compared to this year. This year the healthcare industry has seen tremendous growth. The Healthcare industry has seen and will continue to see a very robust growth and in the organized healthcare sector, there has been an increased growth of 20 per cent as compared to the last year.

Due to the pandemic, small and medium hospitals that closed down, are now limping back. As there is a steady decline in the number of Covid cases in the country, mid-size hospitals and small nursing homes which were unable to sustain their businesses due to dearth of patients, have now started receiving patients again. The recovery in large hospitals has been significantly better than smaller and medium level hospitals, especially those which are in the tier III and tier IV towns and in the rural areas.

During the second wave of the pandemic, there was shortage of manpower because many doctors, nurses and other healthcare support were infected. Even if they were asymptomatic, there was a mandatory 14 days of isolation period and during the isolation period, they were not allowed to come to work due to the contagious nature of the disease.

Then, doctors and nurses who belong from some other departments and may have never run ICUs or critical care units were pushed into those services, and they were grossly overstretched. The entire public health system was overwhelmed with the sheer number of patients.

But now, Covid has comparatively gone down except some geographical locations and there is no dearth of doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare resources. Another thing that has been observed is that in many hospitals, workload has increased because patients who refrained from continuing their treatment due to the fear of Covid, have now started approaching the hospitals for their surgeries and other procedures, he added.

 

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