COVID-19 Challenge To Healthcare System In India

coronavirus india

Due to covid-19 outbreak, the healtcare system in US is under deep stress, even though US Healthcare system is considered to be the best in the world .

If this deadly virus can wreak havoc in developed countries with far superior healthcare, India surely in ramping up their public health system lagging far behind. What part  of Prime minister’s declared Fund Rs 15000 crore goes towards rebuilding Healthcare. Most part would go into emergency meetings, imports of safety etc. It has been difficult for politicians to  sell such investments to the public in a noisy democracy, Noted Das Gupta.

The cholera epidemic in mid-nineteenth century London and the Spanish flu in the early part of the twentieth century made people and governments all over the world realize the importance of public health, wrote the Nobel-winning economist Angus Deaton in his 2013 book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality.’

According to the National Health Profile 2019, over 50 percent of all deaths due to communicable diseases in 2018 were because of respiratory diseases and pneumonia, symptoms common with those of COVID-19.

The growing awareness that germs caused disease, and the consequent investments in public health systems involving sanitation and disease surveillance played a bigger role in improving life expectancy in the twentieth century than gains in income, Deaton noted.

Deaths from contagious diseases in India are much higher than the global average, latest data from the Global Burden of Disease Study shows.

The Global Burden of Disease study of 2016 (GBD 2016), published in the medical journal Lancet in 2018, put India at number 145 among 195 countries (including sub-Saharan Africa), in the Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) Index. India’s score was 41.2, against the global mean value of more than 60, and lower than some of the neighbours like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bhutan.

The latest National Health Profile 2019, released in October 2019, shows India’s public expenditure on health (centre plus state) has been less than 1.3% of the GDP for many years.

Decades of neglect results in:

  • Wrong public health strategy.
  • Lack of resources.
  • Limited investments in both health infrastructure and health data .
  • Low priority /not considering it a priority.
  • Failed to create manpower and resources.
  • Poor quality infrastructure.
  • Lowest spending on preventive measures/care.
  • Improvement in health system were not uniform.
  • Little investment in an overarching public health infrastructure(such as sanitation etc)
  • Inadequate to provide quality infrastructure .
  • Poor accessibility .
  • Poor public investment.
  • Disparities in care
  • High healthcare costs.
  • Reduced economic productivity
  • Insufficient access to care.
  • Sub-standard care.
  • Poor communication or rude providers.
  • Healthcare/income inequality .
  • Ineffectve healthcare

Despite scary stories ,yet this deadly virus is a real-kicker – be it economical or mental. It is really a big challenge  ,be in healthcare system or economic growth. we have to be resourceful to deal with. The Indian public healthcare system is facing enormous challenges and to address these….

  • Facilitate administrative clearance
  • The economic & political structure need to be tackled.
  • The cultural & social barriers need to be addressed.
  • Overcrowded & poor living conditions need to be??
  • Strenghtening National Health system
  • Tackling structural cause of poor health.
  • Providing access to care for all.
  • Provide enough resources, sufficient quality based.
  • Provide standard care at low cost.
  • Provide community based healthcare in low income areas
  • Remove barriers to accessing healthcare services.
  • Focus spending on patient care.
  • Utilize inexpensive primary care.
  • Advancement in technology.
  • Patient empowerment.
  • Develop standards & work for their implementation.
  • Reimbursement for services should reflect the actual cost.
  • Encourage & enhance research activities in medical science.
  • Provide quality infrastructure.
  • Adopt patient/public oriented healthcare system.
  • Promoting effective care coordination and communication.
  • Anticipating a increasing number of covid cases to hospitals in coming days/weeks, administration has to rush to make arrangements for additional beds ,ventilators and other medical equipments.
  • Quality and cost recovery must be balanced with equal opportunities.


Zahida Bano Nursing Officer at GMC Srinagar

[email protected]



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