Forging public-private partnerships in healthcare the way forward: Azad

New Delhi, Dec 18: Forging partnerships between the public and private sector is the way forward for the healthcare sector in India, said Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday.

“Though India has earned international accolades for its collective efforts at containing polio, significant reduction in infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR), the delivery and outcomes of healthcare facilities need to be improved further”, said Azad at the 9th India Health Summit organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.

He also released the report prepared by McKinsey for CII, titled, “India Healthcare: Inspiring possibilities, challenging journey”, which provides various stakeholders with an integrated view of the healthcare sector in India by 2022.

Despite the laudable efforts made by the government in the field of healthcare, significant challenges in the form of inadequate infrastructure, shortage of funds and efficient human resource faculty continue to confront the policymakers, Azad added.

The Indian healthcare is envisaged to grow from the USD 65 billion industry currently to USD 100 billion by 2015. However, in order to reach this ambitious target, collaboration between public and the private sector in all areas of delivery is crucial, he stressed.

Azad applauded the CII’s initiative to create the Healthcare Sector Skill Council (HSSC) to address the skill gap in the area of allied healthcare professionals.

P.K Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, highlighted that there is an urgent need to strengthen the public healthcare system in such a way that there is a seamless transition

between primary and secondary healthcare facilities in the country.

The government is working tirelessly towards ensuring that accessible and affordable healthcare services are available to all in the years to come. However, in order to ensure this, it was necessary for the public and private stakeholders to work in tandem with each other, he added.

Rahul Khosla, Chairman, 9th India Health Summit, in his welcome remarks said that the healthcare summit in the last few years has become the most definitive platform to discuss and deliberate issues related to healthcare service in India.

In his special address, Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman, CII National Committee on Healthcare, remarked that the quality of medical education needs to be improved in India with special focus on the up hauling of both the quality and quantum of doctors in the country. The skills of the ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers need to be enhanced, in order to improve the delivery of service in the rural sector. The creation of the HSSC is step in this direction, he further added.

Shivinder Mohan Singh, Executive Vice-Chairman, Fortis Healthcare Limited, in his address remarked that to ensure availability of affordable healthcare services in the country, forging public-private partnerships is the only way forward. Additionally, there is also an urgent need for improving the transparency and accountability on the cost of delivery of healthcare services, he added.

Dr Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, added that time has come for the healthcare sector to be accorded infrastructure status in order to improve the sector’s outcomes and platform of delivery access across different sections of the society.

In his concluding remarks, Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry, highlighted the vast untapped potential of the healthcare sector in India. (ANI)