Make health spend 5% of GDP, demands Indian Medical Association

health spend 5% GDP
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In its health manifesto, the Indian Medical Association has demanded that the spend on health should be increased to 5% of GDP from the current 1.2%

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Sunday released its health manifesto ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, demanding that the health spend me made 5% of GDP. It urged all political parties to give priority to the health sector.

The manifesto contains various suggestions to improve public health, change policy directions, streamline medical education and improve medical research. “There is insufficient funding in the healthcare sector and the GDP in healthcare is at a dismal rate of 1.2 pc. The out of pocket expenditure is one of the highest for our country and every year over 3.3 per cent of people are pushed below poverty line due to expenditure on health,” said Dr Santanu Sen, the national president of IMA and Rajya Sabha MP from the Trinamool Congress.

The primary and preventive care should be given top priority. Wellness centres have to be reconceived and they have to be manned by MBBS graduates

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has already declared that the party, if voted to power, will make right to health an actionable right – something that the draft National Health Policy 2017 set out to do but the final version of the policy stoped short of. Lack of public funding for health has always been a prickly issue for India. With a new flagship health programme – Ayushman Bharat  – in the final stages of planning in 2017, the funding for the National Health Mission the UPA health flagship was years, was slashed.

“In order to improve the overall healthcare sector and cope up with the out of pocket expenses, the GDP must be increased to at least 5 per cent,” Sen said. The IMA will soon launch a countrywide ‘Health First’ campaign to propagate the manifesto among the candidates, political parties and the public.
The local units of IMA will conduct public meetings and seminars in which the candidates for the Lok Sabha elections will also be invited. “The primary and preventive care should be given top priority. Wellness centres have to be reconceived and they have to be manned by MBBS graduates,” said Dr R V Asokan, the general secretary of IMA. A total of 1,53000 health and wellness centres are being set up under the Ayushman Bharat programme.
“MBBS doctors are ready to work in rural areas and the IMA can facilitate availability of manpower to the primary care centres. There should be recruitment boards to recruit MBBS graduates for primary care,” he said.



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