India needs to invest more in health: Sir Malcolm Grant
The level of investment in healthcare in India is remarkably low for a nation whose economic growth is much greater than it used to be, Sir Malcolm Grant, former founding chairman of NHS UK and Chancellor of the University of York, said while speaking at a session of the India Today Conclave 2021 in New Delhi on Friday.
Sir Malcolm Grant also spoke about the health spending in the UK, what NHS has done right, and the lessons India can take from it going forward.
India spends only 2.2 per cent of its GDP on health, and "it will have to invest more, especially on people with underlying health conditions. NHS spends about 8-9 per cent of its GDP on health, and the target is to get high-quality healthcare at a low cost. India has the opportunity to make a significant change in what is already being done by increasing health spending," he said.
Sir Malcolm Grant also said that mass vaccination was the pandemic's triumph, and he is a great admirer of the Serum Institute of India for making this possible.
He added that we are still in a raging pandemic, but it is difficult to foresee the third wave as there is a lot about the virus that we do not understand. There is a risk of normalising deaths on a large scale if we get complacent.
He emphasised that one of the mistakes of political leaders while battling the pandemic was their failure of communication and undermining science.
Data is the future of healthcare
India recently launched the National Digital Health Mission that is being implemented in pilot phases. Congratulating India on its efforts, Sir Malcolm Grant said that much of the future of healthcare depends on data, and trust is critical when we talk about expanding digital health data.
We need to breakthrough privacy barriers to encourage transmissibility across the system and deploy new data methods of diagnosis and therapies and retain people's trust.
"We should no longer be investing in fix and repair in healthcare but diverting resources upstream so that people don't fall into ill health in the first place," said Sir Malcolm Grant.
He said that India needs to train a new workforce of a digitally capable generation to link the community with the model of telehealth.
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