India, with the second largest population in the world, comprises about one sixth of the world’s
population. The dilemma lies in the fact that 70 per cent of the Indian population is living in semiurban and rural areas, whereas ironically 80 per cent of our private and public healthcare facilities are located in urban areas. This makes the majority of its population suffer from lack of healthcare reach. Even after having outstanding hospitals that cater to the healthcare needs of a large number of patients from abroad, healthcare in India still remains out of the economic reach of majority of rural population. To address the rising issue of Affordable Healthcare in India, BRICS Chamber of Commerce & Industry organised a workshop on this issue inviting eminent doctors, policymakers, government officials and delegates from various embassies. Dr. P.K Dave, A Padma Shree Awardee and the Chairman of Department of Orthopaedics at Rockland Hospitals, Former Director, AIIMS, was the Chief Guest for the event. Drawing from his experience, he stated some of the limitations on the government’s part while formulating and implementing healthcare policies. He focused on proper utilisation of resources and reforms in medical/health education. The distinguished speaker, Dr.A.K Mukherjee, Director General, Indian Spinal Injury Centre, New Delhi, addressed the gathering by giving an overview of the global scenario. He focused on infrastructure and accessibility drawing on his vast and long experience in the medical profession and career. Dr. S.B Shashank, the guest speaker, Special Secretary, Health and Foodworks / Drug Controller,Govt. of NCT of Delhi, steered his views towards the “affordability” aspect and with the help of facts he showed that affordability is not an issue concerning poor but whole of the nation. He stressed on the importance of reservation of certain percentage of beds in OPD and ICU for the poor in private hospitals. After such informative addresses by the above mentioned guest speakers, a panel discussion was held, which was addressed by, Mr Deepak Wadhawan, Director, All India Heart Foundation, New Delhi and Advisor at India Centre of Excellence project, World Heart Federation, Geneva. Dr. Devashish Saini, an AIIMS graduate, with MSHI (Master of Science in Health Informatics) from University of Alabama, Birmingham, USA and the Founder of Ross Clinics, and Dr. Harish Bhalla, who was selected by the Indian Council of Medical Research to work on the ‘Effect of Tobacco on Peripheral Vascular Diseases’ under the guidance of an internationally renowned; Prof. Dr. R. C Nigam, a well known Professor of Maulana Aazad Medical College, New Delhi. Notable and significant observations were made by Mr. Jha from Sulabh International who represented Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, a Padma Vibhushan Awardee and the founder of Sulabh International.
Two interns from FORE school of management did a commendable job in organizing the event
namely Ms. Shambhavi Singh and Ms. Radhika Gupta. Amb. Ajai Malhotra, Former Ambassador to Russia Federation, also shared his own experience about running a philanthropic medical care outfit which is providing affordable healthcare solutions to 1 lakh 40 thousand patients in one year.
The panel discussion saw emergence of various viewpoints such as
• Preventive versus curative healthcare,
• High cost Medical Care forcing Medical Institutions to charge higher prices to recover their
• Special mention by Dr. Bhalla about his work on setting up rural healthcare clinics in villages of
Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh which were deprived of availability of doctors.