It is unfortunate that the State is making a policy shift from providing health care to purchasing health care through schemes like Arogyasri and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RBSY), Executive Director of National Health Resource Centre T. Sundara Raman said.

Delivering the keynote address at Dr. Jetti Sesha Reddy Memorial State-level seminar on “a people’s movement perspective on universal health coverage” organised here on Sunday, he said allowing private sector to dominate healthcare would not help the poor. The private sector health care provider would focus on maximising profits by extending only commercially viable services and not treatment of common ailments.

Attacking the policy makers for not doing enough to improve healthcare, he said that the government should take a fresh look at how to make doctors work in remote locations and learn from successful policies of Brazil and Norway, among others, rather than keep on repeating failed models. He also criticised the ideologues for not looking at ways to transform institutions. The students who are graduating to become doctors are no longer driven by the commitment to serve. It is no longer seen as a service but as a lucrative career, Director of Medical Education K. Vishnu Prasad said. He called on everyone to help revitalise the government medical colleges and government hospitals rather than deride them. Government alone could provide public health for which it needed doctors, he added.

Delivering the other keynote address Ravi Uday Bhaskar, secretary-general All India Drug Control Officers Confederation, pointed out that 60 per cent of Indian population was on the verge of becoming paupers due to the expenses on medical care. The majority of the amount is spent on medicines he said and urged the doctors and government to take steps to encourage use of generic drugs.

Citing the example of Jeevan Dhara medical stores supported by the State government, he explained how the chemists and even drug manufacturers were looting the public.

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