By Kiran Gadela, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Oasis Fertility
“The year 2020 has clearly demonstrated the resilience and agility of India in terms of fighting against COVID. The concerned authorities, medical professionals and the complete healthcare and life sciences ecosystem have done a stellar job and catering to the demands as the pandemic unfolded.
Regarding the upcoming healthcare budget, in short term, we would like to see a significant allocation in spending towards public health care, upgradation of the existing infrastructure, increased spend towards the welfare of the medical and paramedical professionals working in the public sector. Greater incentives to be provided for the medical professionals to work in tier 2 and rural areas.
In addition to this, we would like to see funds allocated to provide simple and easy inclusion of all for healthcare insurance. Currently only 15% of 1.3 billion populations is currently covered under the health insurance schemes.
In the long term, would like to see a dedicated budget and policy in the area of technology in healthcare. The NITI Aayog’s initiative of the National Health Stack is a very progressive initiative in this direction – and if executed well, can transform the functioning of the health care and life sector in India. For a country of 1.3 billion populations – the anonymous data is of immense value in every step of the life sciences and the healthcare value chain, including R&D, innovations and manufacturing of import substitutes, all the way to patient service delivery including tele-medicine.
Incentives for private healthcare providers who collaborate on this shared digital infrastructure will help bring the system to a reasonable amount of maturity. This would also attract greater investments in the sector.
Secondly, Notable increase in spending on preventive health segment is the need. Greater incentives and tax breaks to be provided for individuals for not just basic but advanced health checkups and screening. This will help early detection of chronic diseases and consequently save the exchequer in the long term in their public health spending.
As we are all aware, most of the efforts in 2020 were reactionary in nature, and the outbreak has taught the entire world of the importance of a robust healthcare system, This is a clear opportunity for India to build on the momentum. Everyone in the healthcare ecosystem is looking forward to the budget for 2021 with renewed optimism. The vaccine drive with India being the largest manufacturer is a good start in this direction.”