Chandigarh: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said India needs structural reforms in the healthcare sector to improve delivery of services at the grassroots level and help the underprivileged access the facilities.
“India has made substantial progress in health determinants over the past decades. The critical indicators of health have shown consistent improvement over the years. But our progress has been much less than what we would have liked to achieve and are capable of achieving,” he said.
“It also does not compare well with what a number of other countries, particularly in South East Asia, have achieved,” the Prime Minister said in his address at the 30th convocation ceremony of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here.
Singh said as in economics, in medicine too it is easy to “get lost in high-level research and forget ground realities”.
“A common perception among the public is that institutions running with public money end up as ivory towers. It is widely felt that the poor and underprivileged sections of our population do not have access to healthcare system. The system needs structural reforms to improve the quality of delivery of services at the grassroots level. It has to be more sensitive to the needs of women and children,” he said.
Singh said there is a need to recognise that a “hospital-centered approach” to healthcare has proved to be “excessively costly” even in the advanced countries.
“A more balanced approach would be to lay due emphasis on preventive health care”.