Since I have been working in the Healthcare industry for the last decade or so, I would like to share my wishlist for the Healthcare industry in India to Mr. Modi’s cabinet. As my wishlist is pretty big, I have focused on the first three items I would like the government to seriously look into.
The first and foremost topic on the list is the Healthcare education. It has been known for quite sometime that for budding doctors getting healthcare education in India is one of the most strenuous and torturous experience. Apart from scoring absurdly high numbers in the qualification exams, there is this huge Damocles sword hanging on the family to afford the cost of the healthcare education. Despite opening of many MBBS colleges, neither the process nor the mechanism for students has been transparent and one where children of middle class families feel that they cannot aspire to become doctors. For a nation that is woefully short of doctors with an average of 0.6 physician per 1000 people a ratio which is one of the lowest in the world compared to an average of around 2.5 for developed nations, this is the first area where the new Health Minister has to focus for reforms.
Re-emergence of Ayurveda
The second most important topic on my list of Healthcare reforms in India is the treatment to our own past skills of Ayurveda and Yoga. Over the past few years, Yoga has emerged as one of the best mechanisms for maintaining long term health both physically and mentally. But this has not been due to any efforts from Indian governments, but due to a huge moving population that has shared this knowledge with the rest of the world and the world has seen the benefit of this. Similarly, Ayurveda our own brand of medicine is today struggling for existence. On the one hand is the poor plight of the remaining authentic practitioners, on the other hand is the spiraling cost of clinical studies that are necessary today to make a medicine available for commercial use. It is high time Indian Government steps up with assistance in the field of Ayurveda research and clinical studies. Also to remove the whole new set of phony Ayurveda companies which have come in which provide a bad name for the industry and appropriate department to look after the Ayurvedic products and their development in India is necessary. Like Yoga, Ayurveda is where the future of medicine lies and India can cash in big time if we nurture our own science of medicine properly.
Healthcare Development Hub for the World
The last of the topics that is on my first list for the new government is related to Healthcare development for the world. As Asia becomes more and more a center with the man power, all the healthcare development organizations are turning to Asia and India specifically. Over the last decade or so, Bangalore has become the hub of all healthcare development for world’s leading Healthcare providers be it Siemens, GE, Philips or Toshiba. Given this backdrop, it is high time for the Government to facilitate the next level of growth of this segment by organizing symposiums and conferences that can put Indian healthcare development at the epicenter of the world development. Events such as Connectathon, Radiology Society events and Healthcare Provider conferences could be encouraged and help build awareness both within India as well as the world on the potential that exists. Already some of the leading Healthcare brands are looking at indigenously developed Indian products as the cost effective answers to the spiraling Healthcare cost. A little help from the government could help India truly become the Silicon Valley for Healthcare development.
Of course, as I hinted earlier in my article, this is just my first list. But this will go a long way in setting up the Healthcare reforms for the next decade for India. As Modiji likes one liners, the one liner for his Health Ministry could be: Ek Bharath, Swasth Bharath!!