A leading Indian advocacy group has called for greater investment in public healthcare.
The Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) has also expressed its disappointment that none of the policy pronouncements so far by the government seem to have realized the gravity of the situation.
Making a presentation in the run-up to the annual budget, the CBGA regrets that the situation of the poor do not seem to be in the radar of the government at all.
"Disappointingly, none of the recent policy documents, be it the National Health Policy , or the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), lays out concrete plans to step up public investment in healthcare, though they recognise the problem, and talk about greater investment," the CBGA said while impressing upon the government to take serious measures to fulfil its commitment of raising public investment on health to 2-3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Pointing out that the United Progressive Alliance government projected the NRHM as its flagship programme, with the aim of providing quality health infrastructure to the rural people, the CBGA said that in practice it ended up becoming an umbrella programme of many existing schemes with hardly any new initiative except for the Accredited Social Health Activist scheme.
Moreover, the financing of NRHM so far revealed that it was focussed more on selective interventions, and the aspect of universalisation of public health was deeply neglected.
"Even the commitment of increasing allocations by 30 per cent every year has been violated with the increase being between 18 and 20 per cent in nominal terms whereas the real increase is much less. Around 80 per cent of the increase in allocation was in HIV/AIDS programme, Reproductive and Child Health, medical education and alternative medicines, while strengthening of primary health care infrastructure remains grossly neglected," the CBGA said.