80% diseases can be nipped with primary healthcare, Health News, ET HealthWorld

by HSD Srinivas
Director – Health, Tata Trusts

The Indian healthcare sector, on the one hand, has super-specialty hospitals in cities, that provide cutting-edge tertiary healthcare and, on the other hand, presents a somber image of primary healthcare, with only 3% of India’s doctors living in rural areas, where 70% of India’s population resides.

By one estimate, about 80% of disease conditions can be addressed at the primary care level with basic physician and a community health worker. To achieve this, vast swathes of our population need access to quality primary healthcare integrated with universal health coverage.

India is also signatory to SDG goals 2030 and Universal Health Care (UHC) Framework adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2019, contributing to significantly realising UHC. Launched in 2018, Government of India’s ‘Ayushman Bharat (AB)’ programme aims at improving primary care delivery significantly. AB mandates creation of Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) with availability of appropriate diagnostics and drugs and due emphasis on the use of technology, such as apps for screening and management of NCDs.

But, we believe that to strengthen health systems in India, a multi-pronged approach comprising structural reforms, deployment of technologies, capacity building of healthcare workers, hyper-local strategies

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