'Investment in health in India among lowest'
Ahmedabad: At an event that is primarily held to attract investment in India and Gujarat, a World Health Organisation (WHO) representative for India stressed that investment in health is equal to investment in economy.
Dr Henk Bekedam praised India's efforts, particularly the strides it had made in containing HIV, TB and malaria but cautioned that a lot more needs to be achieved.
"Government should focus on addressing market failures in health. There is a need to increase government expenditure in health to 3.5% GDP by 2030 and strengthening public health capacity. The investment in health in India is still among the lowest. Indians still have to spend a lot on medicines," said Dr Bekedam. He said that studies
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Jorge Coarasa, senior economist with the World Bank, said that India was battling the dual burden of NCDs and infectious diseases. Undernutrition is not just a health issue but a economic one and it is constraining growth, he said.
"India is at a demographic transition phase and a lot would depend on how it tackles challenges like malnutrition," said Coarasa. He said the health sector needs to ask what it can do for the economy and not vice-versa.
Prevent premature deaths
“Low investment leads to low health outcomes and it impacts economy too. Investing in health is equal to economic growth and inclusive development. India would save US $4.3 trillion by preventing premature deaths through Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) before 2030,” said Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO representative for India.
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