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As per a recent study by Ipsos, about 35% Indians think that the quality of medical treatment in India is poor and another 30% were disappointed with the low standard of cleanliness in medical institutes. Medical expenditure remains one of the primary concerns for people in the country which makes it imperative for further focus on making healthcare affordable for one and all.

Recent statistics indicate that the government spending on health care is Rs 1,112 per capita, which means only Rs 3 per day is spent per day for the healthcare of an average Indian. More than 60% of the registered doctors are concentrated in urban areas. India’s spending on health is currently the lowest among BRICS nations.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Health perhaps was never one of the primary points in India’s political agenda. The country has always seen out-of-pocket spending as a norm even as public hospitals make healthcare challenging for those whose voice cannot be heard. Given the large number of people still living below the poverty line, affordability of quality healthcare needs to be addressed by looking at both sides of the equation: the cost of delivery and the ability to pay for it. Insurance is an altogether different subject of debate. Apart from providing access to affordable and quality healthcare, there is an urgent need for the government to ensure a centralized health savings scheme with a centralized fund management. This will ensure bring services to a larger segment of the society and help in realizing the goal of healthcare for all.”

All member states of the UN including India have committed to try to provide universal health coverage to all their citizens by the year 2030. Universal health coverage means good quality health care that is Available, Accessible, Affordable and Accountable.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “While quality of care is always preferred, it may not always be feasible because it can increase the cost of treatment. What should then be the focus? Every hospital or health care establishment must try to improve and maximize quality within the resources that are available to them and with the best use of those resources. Poor quality service indicates poor utilization of resources. Both quality and affordability need to be balanced, especially in a country like ours, which has one of the highest out of expenditures on health in the world.”

Affordable healthcare is also the theme for the 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela this year, to be held from 24th to 28th October 2018 at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.

Some medical expense planning tips from HCFI

· Set a clear-cut savings goal every month. Use this only for the medical expenses.

· Keeps these savings accessible and readily available for a crisis.

· Just as a car needs maintenance, staying healthy requires maintenance too. Make sure you do not skip monthly check ups. This corpus can also aid in that.