The Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad, explained why poverty still strikes in India. As per a WHO report, ill health pushes 39 million Indians to poverty every year and around 30 per cent in rural India did not go for any treatment due to financial constraints, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said at a Conference on ‘Responsible Use of Medicine’ at Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Azad said India has an ambitious target during the 12th Plan period of achieving comprehensive health security to all its citizens through Universal Health Coverage for all. To ensure that unnecessary drugs are not prescribed, India has already enacted the Clinical Establishment Act, Azad said.
According to WHO’s World Health Statistics 2012, almost 60 per cent of total health expenditure in India was paid by the common man from his own pocket in 2009, said Azad. About 47 per cent and 31 per cent of hospital admissions in rural and urban India were financed by loans and sale of assets, the report states.
The recommendations of the Consultative Expert Working Group set up by WHO on research and coordination highlights the fact that very little research is happening in neglected diseases and intellectual property rights have become an obstacle to access to medicines. ‘We need to consider the recommendations of the CEWG and ensure that adequate financing is made available to these diseases so that the poor and the vulnerable do not suffer from lack of proper medicines,’ he said.