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Health care exercises the president

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ET reports:

Inaugurating a meeting of Ministers of Health and a Session of WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia at Rashtrapati Bhavan, [President of India, Pranab Mukherjee] noted with concern that 46 per cent people in the region lived below poverty line and asked nations to build an environment for quality health.

“It is also a matter of concern that South East Asia Region registers the lowest total expenditure on health as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (3.8 pc) and per capita total expenditure on health as per World Health Statistics 2009,” he said.

As per WHO, India’s total expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP in 2011 is 3.9 per cent. But, government spending on health is less than 2 per cent of GDP and the total came to 3.9 per cent after including private spending.

The President said countries need to strengthen health systems based on primary health care approach while focusing on public health based on domestic resources. He also sought strategic investments in medical education and training and said existing inefficiencies in supply chain and logistic management of drugs and vaccines be addressed.

In fact, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee did show the same concern during his tenure as finance minister: the budgets of 2010, 2011, 2012 did show year-by-year increase in rupees. As a fraction of the annual budget, it has remained almost steady in the last five years at around 2% of the total.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

September 11, 2013 at 5:02 am

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