National Knowledge Commission chief Sam Pitroda on Wednesday said that the Indian health system was going the “highly unaffordable American way” and suggested going back to roots to provide cheap healthcare benefits to those at the bottom of the social pyramid.

“India needs to find a new health model, we are drifting towards an increasingly expensive US model,” Pitroda, the principal advisor to the Prime Minister on Infrastructure, Innovation and Information, said.

“The way we are heading, we will not be able to meet the healthcare needs of the poor,” he said at a CII conference here. Mr. Pitroda voiced concern that India was going the “highly unaffordable American way” in healthcare.

He also lamented that there is “very little original” medical research going on in the country. “There should be new ways of looking at things, in skill development, sustainability and new paradigm,” he said.

Simple personal healthcare models like gathering and storing health information through mobiles can be very helpful in a country like India, Mr. Pitroda said.

The 68-year-old Mr. Pitroda, who was born in a tribal village in Orissa, said that there is a lot of wisdom in traditional medicine which is being overlooked today.

“It is time to go back to history to learn how to provide cheap and effective healthcare,” he said.

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