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Need to increase spending on healthcare, reduce out-of-pocket expenses: Execs

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Outlook September 22, 2021 20:39 IST 1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530
New Delhi, Sep 22 (PTI) There is a need to increase the spending towards healthcare, strengthen primary medicare and reduce out-of-pocket expenses to build a robust healthcare system in the country, sector leaders said on Wednesday.
"One of the most important things that we should be doing is to allocate more towards healthcare...we have to spend more if we have to have a good healthcare system," Aster DM Healthcare Chairman and Managing Director Azad Moopen said in a panel discussion.
Speaking in a similar vein, Public Health Foundation of India President K Srinath Reddy said the country needs to increase the allocation to health and also to utilise it much better.
Speaking at the discussion at the AIMA National Management Convention, Moopen also emphasised capacity building.
The country needs to have more numbers of doctors, nurses and paramedics and there is also a need to have digital transformation in a big way for providing healthcare to people, he added.
Highlighting that issue of out-of-pocket expense needs to be addressed, Narayana Health Chairman and Executive Director Devi Prasad Shetty said, "One of the greatest missing links in the Indian healthcare today is that significant percentage of the population pay from the pocket, that has to be addressed and a financial intermediary should emerge".
There is a need to come up with out of the box financial intermediaries, which will pay for what it costs, he added.
A vibrant health insurance programme will add significantly to the overall development of the delivery as well as the industry standards, Shetty said.
On the issue Reddy said, insurance can support the public healthcare system, but most of the funding has to come from tax revenues.
He also highlighted the importance of strengthening the primary healthcare system in both urban and rural areas.
On the best way to manage future pandemics, Devi Shetty said, "If a situation like this arises in the future, the best way to manage is by having a young mobile workforce of maybe 20,000 to 50,000 doctors and young nurses, medical technicians, we can cover most of the public hospitals. A mobile flexible workforce can make a huge huge difference". PTI AKT BAL