At a roundtable organised by India Health and Wellness Summit in Delhi, health experts have discussed the importance of Public-Private sectors and its partnership in ensuring health for all.

The health experts participating in the summit talked about emerging opportunities on the newly announced National Health Policy and directions emerging from the NFHS-4 documents, and addressed the opportunities for and challenges to the improvement of healthcare outcomes in India, via increased participation from the private sector.

The latest National Health Policy is a timely update and statement for understanding our nations health programs and their present status. It has outlined many ambitious plans including raising public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of the GDP in a time-bound manner, providing free health care services in public hospitals, increasing public expenditure in health and digitisation of family healthcare, said Dr Sunil Khetrapal, COO, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, New Delhi.

He also outlined that the private sector should play a large and constructive role in ensuring the success of this policy, and the health of the nation.

Unless high quality services are delivered to pregnant women, we will not see our maternal and child survival indicators improve dramatically.       The private sector can provide high quality services, and government can achieve both health outcomes and value of investments efficiently, through the strategic purchase of services option outlined in the National Health Policy, noted Dr Manika Khanna, Founder, Gaudium, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

The collective impact of the NHP and NFHS-4 could have a disruptive impact on the role that the private sector will play in ensuring health outcomes, said Kamal Narayan, Founder, India Health and Wellness Summit.

It is up to the private sector to come up with value propositions for the government to procure health services from them, and todays roundtable will act as a catalyst to that agenda. The follow-up to this roundtable will be designed based on the outcomes that evolve from the discussions which aimed to facilitate convergence of organizations, regulators, innovators, and influencers, to discuss and debate possible paths to a healthier India, and to amplify the message to the final stakeholders, the common man, added Narayan.

Among other eminent industry stakeholders present at the roundtable were Dr Oommen John,

Senior Research Fellow, the George Institute for Global Health; Dr Bobby John, Managing Director, Aequitas Consulting; and Ganapati Mudur, veteran health journalist.

In India, while much of the progress on the healthcare front can be attributed to improvements in the design and delivery of public health programs by national and state governments, (especially in the areas of securing child survival and reductions in mortality due to infectious diseases), disaggregated data at various levels indicates gross imbalances in the distribution of health services and health outcomes.

Among the innovative ideas discussed at the conference was the need for high quality data from the private sector hospitals and clinics, addressing gaps in the current government healthcare service delivery system (particularly in addressing emergency medical and trauma care), resurgence of preventive health services, among others. IHW Roundtable offers a platform for the discussion of policy mechanisms and an opportunity to present current thinking on issues around health and development.

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