Putting health at the centre of development is really crucial for India and the world in general, said Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals while addressing the 3rd Healthcare Summit Rajasthan recently.
“According to WHO, health is central to our well being. It makes an important contribution to economic progress. Healthy populations live longer, are more productive and more significantly they contribute more to society,” Reddy said.
Highlighting the opportunities in healthcare sector, she said that the Indian healthcare sector is growing at a compounded rate of 16.5 per cent and is estimated to be a $285 billion per year by the year 2020. “Yet, we know that so many people are denied medical care and there is so much to be done. Every day we have mothers and babies dying because of inappropriate care,” Reddy added.
“In a hospital when people come with a cardiac problem, how many do we see with single vessel disease. As many as 67 per cent of our patients have at least 3-4 vessel disease and they need significant treatment. The scenario in cancer is worse. When people reach the hospital, it’s already stage 3 or 4 cancer. So, this entire scenario needs enhancement in the delivery, focus and policy in the entire healthcare.”
However, she said the good news is that India has many islands of excellence in healthcare — both in the government and in private sector. “The developmental pace with which healthcare growing is indeed one of the fastest growing sectors in the country. I think the problems that we have is significantly compounded by the incidents of NCDs,” she said.
She also pointed out at the growing burden of Non-communicable Diseases in the country. “I think upfront in centre is the fact that NCDs have overtaken infectious diseases and is more than 70 per cent of the disease burden today. It is appropriate and significant that the National Health Policy 2017 has really highlighted the need for a national screening programme.”
In line with that is the great opportunity for us to look at the lack of infrastructure, skilled manpower, the potential to change our health policy and to bring healthcare sector into a scenario where no one in our country is denied care.
“I think the artificial boundaries between public and private healthcare are being broken and the true work of PPP is
happening. I think healthcare is changing significantly in the highlight of the fact that on one hand the world is getting ‘Uberised’ and on the other side the borders that we follow in healthcare are changing and the health is truly beginning to represent not just sick care but also screening and preventive healthcare,” Reddy added.