Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Elections 2014

Expert views: what the next Indian government should do for health and healthcare

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 03 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2479
  1. Jeetha D’Silva, journalist, Mumbai

As the population prepares for the polls, Jeetha D’Silva asked some movers and shakers for their thoughts on the key health and healthcare issues that politicians should be focusing on. Let us know whether you agree and what issues we’ve missed by sending us a rapid response to this article

Regulate public-private partnerships

Preetha Reddy, managing director, Apollo Hospitals Group⇓

Preetha Reddy

The healthcare sector in India should be given national priority status. Our healthcare infrastructure needs huge augmentation, and the government should support this with multiple tax incentives. The limiting factor beyond infrastructure is personnel, and an enabling regulatory structure to scale up staff numbers is essential.

Improving primary and secondary care is crucial, but in addition the new government must look into making quality tertiary care a lot more accessible and affordable to all in need. Health insurance coverage will improve access to quality healthcare.

The future of healthcare will be defined by collaborative efforts. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) need more encouragement, with an increasing role for government as the financier of healthcare rather than the provider. This would require a national regulatory framework for PPPs. It is equally important that we develop mechanisms to regulate quality of care.

Protect the generic drugs industry

Leena Menghaney, India coordinator, Médecins sans Frontièrs Access Campaign, New Delhi⇓

Leena Menghaney

India is one of the world’s largest producers of affordable, high quality drugs and yet it has several problems when it comes to access to these drugs. Over many years we have seen the multinational pharmaceutical industry trying to pressurise India to accept the stringent TRIPS (Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) plus intellectual property norms that will result in higher healthcare costs. India has a large population of people who cannot afford expensive drugs, but India is also a drugs lifeline to many other countries in the developing world. So the next government must ensure sustained production of generic drugs and access to low …

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