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President calls for Universal Health

th (46)Expressing concern over meagre public expenditure on health in the country, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday called for an effective, affordable and universal health care system backed by robust infrastructure.

“There are seven hospital beds per 10,000 population in India, compared to 23 in Brazil, 38 in China and 97 in Russia. In terms of healthcare professionals, we again lag behind the other BRIC countries. Health services in India still suffer from lack of reach and constraints of quality,” Mr. Mukherjee said after inaugurating the Mid-Term Meet of the National Interventional Council of the Cardiological Society of India. India’s public expenditure on health was far below the BRIC nations, he said.He said that to build such a system, we require robust healthcare infrastructure, trained and motivated personnel, and better access to medicines and equipments. Inaugurating the Mid-Term Meet 2015 of the National Interventional Council of the Cardiological Society of India on Saturday in New Delhi, the President, who was also finance minister in several Congress governments from the days of Indira Gandhi, was vocal about the country’s healthcare needs.

Focusing on health insurance mechanism, he noted that 216 million people in India or 17 percent of the population were covered under various health insurance schemes as of March 2014, leaving much bigger coverage desired.“Good health and fitness of the people will truly be a reflection of our country’s progress,” he said.