Private sector's participation though the public private partnership (PPP) model is necessary to improve the healthcare system in the country, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
"Public health system must be strengthened at all levels focusing on primary and secondary care. This could be supplemented through private sector participation," Azad said at a FICCI event.
He, however, said private hospitals were concentrated in urban centres only while the majority of people lived in far-off rural areas.
"They have no access to such facilities and cannot afford them," he said.
The minister said the third option was to provide efficient and affordable healthcare through the public private partnership (PPP) model.
"The PPP model is in vogue. PPP is an efficient and practical way of filling gaps in service delivery for optimal utilisation of resources," he said.
Azad said another area where PPPs could be fostered was medical education.
"While path-breaking initiatives taken by the ministry in the last four years have increased post-graduate seats by almost 80 percent and under-graduate seats by nearly 40 percent, there is a huge gap in supply and demand, which can be met by establishing more medical colleges," he said.