The health care system in India is vast. With the huge number of students completing their medical studies every year in India and also in foreign countries like Russia, Nepal, USA, etc. The quality of doctors, hospitals and the service being provided has been changing in the last few decades. Still, there has always been difference in the rural health care system and the urban health care system. And the service provided in a private healthcare is far different from a public health care. Despite these differences, India is still popular among medical tourists as a destination for help. This is because the costs here are relatively low and there are various specialist doctors and hospitals like Cancer hospitals, cardiology hospitals in India, etc., who provide a high quality of service. Though when it comes to advanced medical help or care, the international students/patients must rely on private hospitals.
A stay in India, especially for study purposes, may come up with some unusual health challenges. Thus it becomes important to be aware of the health care system of India and also the ways in which it operates. As the Indian Health Care system is vast, it is full of complexities and paradoxes for international students, much like the rest of the country.
Past to Present
In 1947, with independence from Britain, India established its Ministry of Health. In the series of five-year plans, where each one determined the priorities of the state for the coming five years, the government made health a priority for those five years. In 1983, the National Health Policy was endorsed by the parliament. The aim of the policy was to achieve universal coverage of health care by 2000. The program was again updated in 2002.
Today, each state primarily administers their healthcare system in India. The Constitution of India holds each state responsible for providing health care to its people. The National/Central government in 2005 launched the National Rural Health Mission to address the lack of medical health care in rural areas. The aim or objective of this mission is to provide health care and medical services to the poor and weak of the rural areas. This mission hopes to improve the health condition of the poorest regions of India.
Private healthcare Vs Public health Care
Indian health care system is universal. It has public hospitals which provide basic health care at almost free cost and even the medicine prices are subsidized. Whereas, there are private hospitals providing advanced medical care and high-quality services. Yet the difference between them is. The quality and the healthcare facilities has the great discrepancy between the public and private units. Even the vast difference in the healthcare between the urban and rural areas can be easily differentiated. There is often a shortage of physicians in the rural areas. The residents of poor states like Bihar, UP suffer from inadequate health care and the residents of more affluent states get access to medical help comparatively easily.
The work of State government is to provide health Care service and education. The Central government works on the administration and technical services.
Due to lack of adequate service and coverage in public health care providers, many Indians have to take help of private healthcare providers. But even this option is impossible and inaccessible for poor. There are insurance facilities available for paying for the health care costs, often this facility is provided by the employers. But most Indians do not have health insurance, and it becomes impossible for poor patients to pay such large healthcare costs from their pockets.
Private hospitals on other hand provide great medical help and world-class healthcare facilities.There are various special care private hospitals, for specific ailments as well as Cancer hospitals, cardiology hospitals in India. Though the prices may seem too high for Indian citizens belonging to rural areas, in comparison to developed foreign countries, the price and cost is only a small fraction. This is why, when it comes to medical care and treatments, India is a popular destination for medical tourists. Especially, when tourists are seeking helps in alternative medical help such as Ayurveda or homeopathy, India is preferred. India is also popular among students of these alternative medicines.
For international students, private hospitals are more reliable, especially for advanced medical treatment. In case of minor medical help, local pharmacist is the valuable resource.