Excessive healthcare

In 2014, the World Bank warned that India’s “excessive healthcare” situation can harm patients whilst providing marginal benefits. It is said that the poor in India have access to surgeries but not basic healthcare. Critically discuss the causes and consequences of this skewed scenario. (200 Words)

The poor in India have access to surgeries but not to basic healthcare. This is an example of excessive healthcare. India shows one of the highest C-section ratios of 20%. Although one may perceive this as increasing access to healthcare services, especially for the poor, the actual scenario is different.
  • Rampant increase in numbers of private hospitals. This is further compounded by the underperformance of public hospitals.
  • Increasing insurance cover through schemes like RSBY, private insurance leads to exploitation by private hospitals who in a bid to extract maximum amount try to provide “excessive” healthcare in the form of increase hospitalization, excessive medicines, unnecessary surgeries.
  • Government health schemes are being misused. The surgeries conducted under the National Health Mission have increased remarkably, schemes like the Janani Shishu Suraksha have been misused to extract money.
  • Improper accountability and transparency mechanisms.
  • Lack of awareness among rural masses who do not question medical institutions who unhesitatingly use excessive measures
  • Unnecessary surgeries increase the vulnerability of people involved. Recently the uterus scam in Chhattisgarh where women below 20 were subject to hysterectomy is an example.
  • It leads to increase cost of healthcare and monopoly of private sector.
  • Increase burden of healthcare on government due to misuse of schemes without any actual benefit to the people.
  • Worsening of healthcare indicators since the mortalities in poor are mostly due to lack of sanitation, clean water and basic health facilities.
Thus what needs to be done is to ensure better performance of PHCs, better monitoring and regulation of private and government hospitals to prevent misuse of schemes, public awareness must be generated to the effect that more medicines and surgeries do not mean better treatment.



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