Health of our Nation: India Ranks 171 out of 175 on Healthcare Spending

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If statistics are any indication on the state of health in India,there is a lot to worry...As per World Health Organization survey, India is at the bottom of the heap in terms of public health spending and ranks 171st out of 175 countries,which is less than even what some of the sub-Saharan African countries spent on their Healthcare.

The highest public health care spending per person is in the regions of Western Europe, North America and Japan. Luxembourg, Norway and Iceland. For a country that has the second largest population and is soon to overtake china , India spends 5.2% of its GDP on healthcare — compared to, say, 16% in the US and 13% in Sweden. Of this, only 0.9% is spent by the government while the private sector accounts for the remaining 4.3%.

The US,UK,and Switzerland spends the most as a percentage of their GDP. Health Care spending in the US is projected to grow to 19.5% of GDP in 2017.

In 1962, Defense spending in the US made up half of the federal budget, Social Security about 15% and Medicare had not yet been enacted. By 2007, Defense spending is only 20% of the budget while Social Security makes up 21% and Medicare 16% and rising.

According to Vishal Bali,CEO Wockhardt Hospitals, “Public health spending as a percentage of GDP is minuscule. Due to this, India is over-dependent on the private sector. Contrast us with China, which spends almost almost 6% of its GDP of health,’’ says Vishal Bali, CEO, Wockhardt Hospitals. While India ranks among the top 10 countries for communicable diseases, it is a world leader in chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease.

Despite the wide gaps, higher spending on health care does not necessarily prolong lives. In 2000, theUnited States spent more on health care than any other country in the world: an average of $ 4,500 per person. Switzerland was second highest, at $3,300 or 71% of the US. Nevertheless, average US life expectancy ranks 27th in the world, at 77 years.


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