Nobel laureate calls for increased government spending in this sector

Calling for a “fresh approach” to public healthcare in the country, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said here on Monday that the allocation of resources to healthcare was “woefully small” and there was need for greater allocation of public funds to the sector.

 “When the rest of the world has moved ahead, public health in India has remained stationary. We believe that it has gone so wrong that a fresh approach is required,” Prof. Sen told journalists after the tenth annual declaration of The Kolkata Group on “Women, Health and Justice.”

 Scholars, policy makers, activists and development experts addressed the subject at the Tenth Annual Kolkata Group workshop during the day.

The state should commit itself to providing “universal healthcare for all,” he said, adding that “reliance on private healthcare is an illusion.”

 Asked whether there was need for legislation providing a right to health, Prof. Sen said: “Yes, it is but it alone cannot provide the cure.”

 Stating that public healthcare had not been priority for the Centre, he said India invested 1.2 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in healthcare whereas China spent 2.7 per cent of its GDP on public healthcare.

“It is a mistaken belief that private healthcare can meet the gap… Private healthcare can have a role to play on the foundations laid by public healthcare,” Prof. Sen observed.

Commenting on the lack of professionalism in the medical fraternity, he said: “There is a tendency to convert medical profession into business by a section of doctors. This lacuna can be done away with as there are also a lot of extremely dedicated doctors in the country.”

RELATED NEWS

Death penalty not the answer: Amartya February 19, 2013