India is short of an estimated 600,000 doctors and 2 million nurses, according to a study conducted by U.S.-based Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP). The scientists at the centre found that the lack of staff who are properly trained in administering antibiotics is preventing patients from acquiring live-saving drugs.
The report states that even when antibiotics are available, patients are often unable to afford them. Apart from this, there are unqualified doctors that prescribe antibiotics in improper amounts to the patients which can be harmful or expensive for them. The low expenditure on healthcare by the government is to be blamed for the sorry state of affairs.
In India, about 65% of health expenditure is out-of-pocket. These outrageous health-related expenditures push some 57 million people into poverty each year. While the government has launched various initiatives to provide treatment to citizens for free or at nominal charges, the country is yet to achieve its highest potential in terms of healthcare.
According to the report, the majority of the world’s annual 5.7 million antibiotic-treatable deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In India, there is one government doctor for every 10,189 people. This is very low compared to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of having a ratio of 1:1,000 doctors to patients.
The report also shows that even after the discovery of a new antibiotic, regulatory hurdles and substandard health facilities delay or altogether prevent widespread market entry and drug availability. Of 21 new antibiotics entering markets between 1999 and 2014, less than five were registered in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This indicates that the availability of a certain drug does not ensure its accessibilities in countries that require them the most.
With the government increasing its healthcare budget and corporates coming forward to improve the healthcare scenario in the country, the situation is slowly but surely changing. However, considering the lack of awareness among the citizens about various initiatives, there is still a long way to go for the combined effort to pay off the dividends of it.
Article Credit: CSR Journal