The estimates presented by Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Health Minister of India, in the Lok Sabha reflected a rather gloomy picture of our healthcare infrastructure. India has only one government hospital bed for 879 people on average. This ratio begins to look nearly 10 times as bad in a state like Bihar, but improves dramatically in Manipur. Even though Andhra Pradesh has maximum number of medical students in the country, it has only one government hospital bed for every 2,230 people.
In India, public health is a state subject. But under the National Rural Health Mission, the Central Government is providing lot of financial support to states to strengthen their health systems including new constructions and upgradation of public health facilities. It has already been in the news that the Central Government is going to open eight new AIIMSs, and upgrade 19 medical colleges and institutions to provide tertiary healthcare services that will add about 11,390 additional beds. Hence, as far as the availability of government hospital beds is concerned, lot of improvement can be expected.
But the dream of providing quality healthcare to all Indians can only become true when we have enough participation from the private sector. This is already happening in a big way. Healthcare is one of India’s largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment, and the sector is expanding rapidly. The private sector investments in healthcare is also due to India’s thriving economy, which is driving urbanisation and creating an expanding middle class, with more disposable income to spend on healthcare.
In this issue of eHEALTH, we have focused on the hospital sector in the country. Through a series of interactions with some of the key players in the Western region, we have analysed the work that is being done by the private hospitals to bring efficiency in the healthcare related services that they provide. Moreover, we have insights from a slew of Health IT providers too.
This issue also has coverage of the eINDIA Health Summit 2013, which we had organized on 23-24 July, 2013, at Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad. We have tried to present a summary of the views of all the speakers who participated the prestigious summit. Reading the report on eINDIA 2013, you do get a holistic view of the healthcare initiatives being undertaken in the country.