THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 09 November 2019 (Neglect of public health leaves millions of Indians vulnerable to non-communicable diseases (The Hindu))

Neglect of public health leaves
millions of Indians vulnerable to non-communicable diseases (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2: Health

Prelims level : National Health Profile

Mains level: National Health Profile survey highlights


  • The recent release of National Health Profile (NHP) 2019 is once again a
    dismal reminder of India’s neglect of public health even by the standards of
    other neighbourhood and low-middle income countries.

Highlights of the data

  • Its public health expenditure, at just 1.28 per cent of GDP, is way
    below that of Maldives, Thailand, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
  • The NHP has chosen to overlook a globally accepted indicator of health
    access — direct out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE).
  • The OOPE accounts for 62.5 per cent of total health expenditure in
  • In France, the government’s share is 78.2 per cent while in China, it is
    above 56 per cent. Such expenditure pushes a staggering eight crore Indians
    below the poverty line every year.

How to bridge the public funding gap?

  • The governments past and present have opted for an insurance-based model
    of financing. While Ayushman Bharat and its State-level equivalents such as
    Arogyashree have helped reduce OOP.
  • It would be a mistake to assume, as the NITI Aayog has done in an
    earlier policy paper advocating a PPP approach to healthcare, that publicly
    funded health infrastructure is not crucial.
  • In health, it is State-run models that have worked, from Scandinavian
    countries and Sri Lanka, to Costa Rica and Cuba.
  • Even if India’s healthcare systems cannot be fully run by the
    government, there is certainly a great scope for expanding the State’s
    footprint not just in healthcare infrastructure, but also in medical
    education, the root cause of unaffordable private healthcare in India.
  • In India, inclusive health is a contradiction in terms. The health
    infrastructure divided into primary, secondary and tertiary, where primary
    care is State-managed and tertiary care privately controlled is based on an
    outmoded notion of morbidity.
  • The non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiac ailments and
    cancer are not elite, lifestyle disorders, but are increasingly claiming
    their victims among the poor as well; yet their treatment falls in the
    domain of expensive tertiary care.
  • NCDs account for 63 per cent of all deaths in India, and their effects
    on the poor, underweight and malnourished, in the form of low weight
    diabetes, for instance, can be lethal.
  • Recent Global Burden of Disease data shows that a rise in NCDs is
    related to inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables.


Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Submarines, consider the following statements:

1. Conventional submarines use a diesel-electric engine, and needs to take
in oxygen only once a week for fuel combustion.

2. Recently, the DRDO tested a land-based prototype of an Air Independent
Propulsion (AIP) submarine at the Naval Materials Research Laboratory in
Ambernath, Maharashtra

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B

Mains Questions:

Q.1) Describe the key highlights of National Health Profile survey. What steps
required by the government to bridge the public funding gap?

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