The primary source of healthcare for 69.5 per cent households in urban areas and 62.5 per cent households in rural areas of India was private healthcare sector, according to Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Faggan Singh Kulaste.
Citing the findings of National Family Health Survey 3 (NFHS -3) (2005-06), the minister informed the Lok Sabha on April 7 that the recently concluded survey revealed that private sector is the main source of healthcare for around 52 per cent households in urban areas and around 44 per cent households in rural areas.
However, in case of Rajasthan, NFHS-4 data indicated that around 36 per cent households in urban areas and around 33 per cent households in rural areas generally seek healthcare from private sector when household members get sick.
Kulaste said that several steps have been taken by the government to further improve healthcare facilities in the public sector.
National Quality Assurance Programme, ‘Kayakalp’ award scheme, NHM Free Drugs and Diagnosis initiatives, setting up of new AIIMS institutions, Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Services Programme, Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) and Biomedical Equipment Management and Maintenance Programme (BMMP) are among the key initiatives taken by the government to improve public healthcare sector in the country.
Public health being a state subject, the primary responsibility to improve the quality of healthcare services in public health facilities, lies with the state governments. However, under National Health Mission (NHM), financial and technical assistance is provided to the states/UTs to strengthen the health services.