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17 December 2008
New Delhi, India

This is aimed at putting a better mechanism in place to improve the entire healthcare delivery system in the country
The government is now planning to prioritise the national healthcare needs so that a better mechanism could be put in place to improve the entire healthcare delivery system in the country, a senior Health Ministry official said.

“We are making concerted efforts towards increasing accessibility of good healthcare facilities and also medical emergency care to all the sections of the society, including those living in remote hilly and tribal areas,” Central Bureau of Health Intelligence Deputy Director General and Head Ashok Kumar said.

He was speaking at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 5th India Health Summit: Optimising Healthcare Delivery in India: A Patient Centric Approach, jointly organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Indian Healthcare Federation here on Tuesday.

The government, in its efforts to expand the health coverage, needs cooperation and partnership of private hospitals and organisations right from the peripheral level to big level of nursing centres and yet bigger level of super specialty care centres, he added.

“The upgradation of healthcare facilities is a continuous process. Our aim is to improve the overall facilities, increase its reach to the masses and upgrade the quality to the more acceptable level that could satisfy the needs of the masses,” Kumar emphasised.

It was also pointed out at the conference that less than 10 per cent of India’s population today has some sort of health insurance cover–either voluntary or as part of the Employee State Insurance, Central Government Health Scheme or Community Insurance.

Speaking on the occasion, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute Managing Director and CEO Shivinder Mohan Singh said, “It is important to look at the affordability and accessibility factors more pragmatically and decide what needs to be done immediately to improve the overall healthcare facilities.”

“One of the major challenges before the health insurance sector in India is to provide a far more affordable process of effective healthcare delivery,” UnitedHealth UK Chief Executive Officer David B Ostler pointed out.

Stating that four million deaths happen in the country due to lack emergency medical care, Emergency Management and Research Institute Chief Executive Officer Venkat Changavalli said, “It is important to focus on the day to day handling of the emergencies in urban as well as rural and remote areas.”

“In India we need to develop our own medical and health insurance model that could take care of typical Indian realities. There should also be an overall patient–centric approach,” Star Health and Allied Insurance Assistant Vice President H Srinivasan said.

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