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Indian Healthcare: Nightmare at 21st Century

Health, People, society / Social /

With the growth in economy, India have witness a rapid growth rate of 16.5 percent (1) in the field of healthcare facilities as it is one of the largest sector to generate revenue and employment with expected to generate USD 160 billion by 2017 and USD280 billion by 2020. (2) Most of the growth in healthcare facilities have been facilitated by the privatization of the healthcare sector and a survey suggests that most of the people prefer services from private healthcare as compared to government healthcare in both rural and urban. (1)

India with around 1.3 billion population, Indian Government spending less GDP on healthcare facility, (China spend 5.6 times more than India) existing healthcare infrastructure is not enough to cater the growing demand. (3) While the public sector dominates the healthcare sector, more than 21 percent of people lives below poverty line (4) have no option but to rely on government health care sector. Also, most of the facilities are limited to urban where consumers have higher purchasing power, leaving rural areas backward. (3)

Evidence suggests that around 42 percent of rural people visit to public hospital while in urban the visit to public hospital had decreased from 38 percent to 32 percent from 2004 to 2014, while increase in visit to private hospital had increased to 62 percent to 68 percent from 2004 to 2014. (5) To add situation worse the price for life-saving drugs have also increased, (6) and despite of government health insurance, poor people cannot afford health care facilities (7) making them helpless.

Apart from high price of healthcare facilities and medicines, people in India also had to face with fake or ineffective drugs, (8) as report suggests 1 in 7 drugs in India revealed as substandard. (9) Moreover, according to World Health Organization (WHO), around 31 percent of doctors practice in rural India had just passed secondary school lever while 57 percent doctors did not had any medical qualification. (10) India had less than one million educated doctors to treat 1.34 billion population with sharing one bed for every 2,046 people and one state hospital for every 90,343 people. (11)

With such worse healthcare condition, death due to negligence in hospital was common. Recently around 100 children died in public hospitals in Northern India (12) while in Jharkhand, 52 infants died. (13) Private healthcare was no way behind negligence as family accused for treating dead man for days, (14) or death due to medical negligence at Apollo Hospital. (15) These incidents in hospitals had made work place stress and unsatisfactory which increases the rate suicides and accidents among hospital staffs. (16) (17)

A study was conducted from a sample of 482 people (randomly) from age group 28 to 48 years in West Bengal, who were asked for their preference on public and private hospitals in West Bengal. The study reveals that 67.63 percent respondents prefers to visit at private hospital while 30.08 percent prefer to visit public hospital and rest 2.28 percent prefers others. On the other hand, in emergency condition, 80.91 percent prefer private hospitals while 19.09 percent prefer public hospitals for treatment.

Also, more than 91 percent of respondents visited to private hospital or clinic at least once during last nine months. The study further reveals that people prefers private hospitals than public, the reason may be the marketing strategy that were offered by the private hospitals due to competition among others competitors. (18) The rise in public clinic was also noticeably increased mostly in sub-urban areas over the last few years.

India, in spite of one of the growing economy, no doubt, is presently facing serious healthcare problems whether it may be people killed by heart and lungs (19) or dengue.(20) Influence in politics in healthcare sector also plays an important role in public negative attitude toward public hospitals, as recently a doctor from West Bengal had been suspended from his post due to expressing his views on dead patients who died in dengue at his hospital through social media. (21)

No doubt, India is currently facing from lack of advance healthcare facilities and its one of the prime duty of us as a citizen of India to encourage development in Indian healthcare sector which would be more economical for all people.


  1. Bhattacharjee, A and Mohan, D. (12th Jun 2017). India’s Healthcare System Is Becoming More and More Unequal. The Wire. Retrieve from https://thewire.in/146465/india-healthcare-system-inequality/ on 13th Nov. 2017.

  2. Healthcare Industry in India. India Brand Equity Foundation. Retrieve from https://www.ibef.org/industry/healthcare-india.aspx on 13th Nov. 2017 on 13th Nov. 2017.

  3. India’s healthcare sector: A look at the challenges and opportunities faced by $81.3 billion industry. (12th Jun. 2017). First Post. Retrieve from http://www.firstpost.com/india/indias-healthcare-sector-a-look-at-the-challenges-and-opportunities-faced-by-81-3-billion-industry-3544745.html on 13th Nov. 2017.

  4. Poverty in India. Asian Development Bank. Retrieve from https://www.adb.org/countries/india/poverty on 13th Nov. 2017.

  5. Ghoshal, D. (18th April 2016). Charted: The astonishing cost of healthcare in India. Quartz India. Retrieved from https://qz.com/663718/charted-the-incredible-rise-in-the-cost-of-healthcare-in-india/ on 13th Nov. 2017.

  6. Price of life-saving drugs set to increase. (8th July 2017). Indian Express. Retrieved from http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2017/jul/08/price-of-life-saving-drugs-set-to-increase-1625739.html on 13th Nov. 2017.

  7. Salve, P. and Yadavar, S. (17th Oct. 2017). When the Poor Can’t Afford Healthcare Despite Health Insurance. The Quint. Retrieved from https://www.thequint.com/news/india/india-health-insurance-does-not-benefit-poor-families on 13th Nov. 2017.

  8. Majority of the drugs found in India are either fake or ineffective. (06th June 2017). Your Story. Retrieved from https://yourstory.com/2017/06/india-fake-drugs/ on 13th Nov. 2017.

  9. Bahri, C. (16th Feb. 2016). 1 in 7 Indian drugs revealed as substandard. India Spend. Retrieved from http://www.rediff.com/business/special/special-beware-1-in-7-indian-medicines-revealed-as-substandard/20160216.htm on 13th Nov. 2017.

  10. WHO report questions qualification of ‘doctors’ in India. (18th Jul. 2016). Hindustan Times. Retrieved from http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/alarm-after-who-report-questions-qualification-of-doctors-in-india/story-RPAEhrxCmTU7kE1MnL5VRI.html on 13th Nov. 2017.

  11. Sharma, S. (29th Aug. 2017). India’s public health system in crisis: Too many patients, not enough doctors. Hindustan Times. Retrieved from http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/public-health-system-in-crisis-too-many-patients-not-enough-doctors/story-39XAtFSWGfO0e4qRKcd8fO.html on 13th Nov. 2017.

  12. How did 100 children die in this India hospital?. (16th Aug. 2017). BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-40933073 on 13th Nov. 2017.

  13. Jose, B. (27th Aug. 2017). Jharkhand: 52 infants dead in last 30 days in MGM government hospital. India Today. Retrieved from http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/jharkhand-infants-dead-mgm-government-hospital/1/1034733.html on 13th Nov. 2017.

  14. R. Sujata. (21st July 2013). Family accuses private hospital of treating ‘dead’ man for days. The Hindu. Retrieved from http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/family-accuses-private-hospital-of-treating-dead-man-for-days/article4935918.ece on 13th Nov. 2017.

  15. Apollo Patient Death: Wife files complaint against hospital for ‘extortion’, ‘medical negligence’. (27th Feb. 2017). The Indian Express. Retrieved from http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/apollo-patient-death-wife-files-complaint-against-hospital-for-extortion-medical-negligence-4545361/ on 13th Nov. 2017.

  16. Ailing AMRI hospital nurse in Kolkata dies on duty because of alleged negligence. (10th Aug. 2017). Hindustan Times. Retrieved from http://www.hindustantimes.com/kolkata/ailing-amri-hospital-nurse-in-kolkata-dies-on-duty-because-of-alleged-negligence/story-7cEZARZnLiyNjqsv46HDdL.html on 13th Nov. 2017.

  17. Singh, K.P. (11th Sept. 2017). Nursing attendant found dead in Delhi’s private hospital. Hindustan Times. Retrieved from http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/nursing-attendant-found-dead-in-delhi-s-private-hospital/story-KXU14Gmeey2uhj2gfhLr8J.html on 13th Nov. 2017.

  18. Bapna, A. (22nd July 2016). The organised marketing of hospitals is a relatively new phenomenon. The Economic Times. Retrieved from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/brand-equity/the-organised-marketing-of-hospitals-is-a-relatively-new-phenomenon/articleshow/52849370.cms on 13th Nov. 2017.

  19. Dey, S. (13th Aug. 2015). 25% of Indians may die of lifestyle diseases before they are 70: Study. Times of India. Retrieved from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/25-of-Indians-may-die-of-lifestyle-diseases-before-they-are-70-Study/articleshow/48460601.cms on 13th Nov. 2017.

  20. Dengue cases in India up by over 11,500 from last year, south Indian states worst hit. (01st Aug. 2017). The News Minute. Retrieved from http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/dengue-cases-india-over-11500-last-year-south-indian-states-worst-hit-66073 on 13th Nov. 2017.

  21. Kumari, S. (12th Nov. 2017). Bengal doctor suspended for Facebook post on govt ‘pressure’. The Indian Express. Retrieved from http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bengal-doctor-suspended-for-post-on-govt-pressure-4933464/ on 13th Nov. 2017.

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