Hyderabad: Life expectancy has increased from 32 years at the time of independence to 68.2 years in 2016. Yet, it is the second lowest in the neighbourhood, said Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India
India figured just above Pakistan and below Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and China, Prof. Reddy said in a lecture organised to commemorate the birthday of Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology founder P.M. Bhargava.
He said the health of the people was not determined by the health system alone.
“We must recognise that lack of investment in our social and environmental determinants have also cost us dear. Disease burden rates of malnutrition is 12 times higher than that of China and the disease burden rate from unsafe water and sanitation is 40 times higher than China,” Prof. Reddy said.
Responding to a query on why government schemes were not helping the people reach global health standards, he said, “All government schemes bear the hospitalisation cost. If we look at expenditure, 70 per cent of the out-of-pocket expenditure comes from outpatient care and 70 per cent of this is used to buy medicines.”
He said none of the schemes covered outpatient care. “They only cover hospitalisation charges, that, too, for a limited period. A large section of healthcare expenditure is not covered. This is particularly important in non-communicable disease like diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer, osteoporosis, chronic lung disease, stroke, and heart disease because it requires long term therapy. Hospitals too add costs,” he said....