• November 27, 2020

House panel, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Nov 22, 2020

NEW DELHI: The parliamentary standing committee on health has asserted that a sustainable pricing model could have averted many Covid deaths in the country as inadequate beds in government hospitals and absence of specific guidelines for treatment amid rising cases resulted in private hospitals charging exorbitant fees.

Chairperson of the committee, Ram Gopal Yadav, submitted virtually the report on ‘Outbreak of Pandemic Covid-19 and its Management’ to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, the first by any parliamentary panel on the government’s handling of the pandemic.

Underlining that healthcare spending in the country with a population of 1.3 billion is “abysmally low”, the panel said the fragility of Indian health ecosystem posed a big hurdle in generating an effective response against the pandemic.

“The committee, therefore, strongly recommends the government to increase its investments in the public healthcare system and make consistent efforts to achieve the National Health Policy targets of expenditure up to 2.5% of GDP within two years as the set time frame of year 2025 is far away and the public health cannot be jeopardised till that time schedule,” the report stated.

The committee has recommended that post-Covid clinics should be set up. “Even among people who recover, complications are rampant and they are serious. So there should be regular and comprehensive follow up among people,” it suggested.

Stating that the public had to undergo trauma and distress due to absence of a dedicated healthcare system, the committee observed that the number of government hospital beds in the country were not adequate to handle the increasing number of Covid and non-Covid patients.

Stressing on the need for better partnership between the government and private hospitals in wake of the pandemic and shortage of state-run healthcare facilities, the report said, “The committee is of the view that arriving at a sustainable pricing model to treat Covid patients could have averted many deaths.” The committee believes healthcare should move towards universal health coverage.

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