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India needs 3.5 million hospital beds, 3 million doctors by 2034
MUMBAI: The Indian healthcare delivery system, which suffers from acute problem of limited resources, will need an investment of around $245 billion through traditional means to deliver desired outcome in next two decades, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report.

The requirement will be for 3.5 million beds, 3 million doctors and 6 million nurses over a period of 20 years, it added.

The report said the huge investment would not only put fiscal pressure, but, would be difficult to implement considering the nature and scale of new additions.

For instance, over the last decade roughly 100,000 hospital beds have been added annually. If India continues to maintain this rate, it will fall short of the winning leap target by 1.6 million beds by 2034.

It further said the ratio of doctors per 1,000 people is just 0.6 while in Brazil and China it is 1.8. India has only 1.3 hospital beds per 1,000 people-significantly lower than the guideline of 3.5 beds defined by World Health Organisation.

Several factors have resulted in poor health outcomes such as low life expectancy, high infant and maternal mortality rates. To bring about a winning leap in healthcare, India must increase life expectancy at birth from 66 years in 2012 to 71 years by 2024 and to 80 years by 2034.

By adopting non-traditional solutions, infant mortality rate (number of infant deaths per 1000 live births), could decrease from 44 to 31 in 2024 and to 12 in 2034.

Similarly, the maternal mortality rate (number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births), which is at 190 today, could decrease to 124 in 2024 to 27 in 2034.

To achieve these targets, healthcare-sector players must focus on improving the reach, quality, and affordability of healthcare.

India can also leverage its strength as a world leader in vaccine manufacturing (it contributes 60 per cent of global production) to sharpen its focus on preventive care.

Indian vaccine manufacturers such as Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, and Biological E are known worldwide for their contribution to reducing the cost of vaccines to about $1 per dose.

Enabling universal access to healthcare through the adoption of Winning Leap solutions could help save USD 90 billion in capital costs in India's healthcare delivery infrastructure, the report said.
(Economic Times)
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