Seminal book ‘Healthcare Reforms in India’ shows the way

Healthcare in India in Cusp of Complete Turnaround

New Delhi

‘Health for all’ in India is at best a hope that has been sold ad nauseam so far. But healthcare is still like a cancer patient lying etherized upon the table for the ‘commando operation’. The hope of affordable and accessible healthcare was triggered in 2000 but it has been a saga of shifting of goal post ever since.

Launch of book ‘HEALTH CARE REFORMS IN INDIA: MAKING UP FOR THE LOST DECADES’ by Rajendra Pratap Gupta, a renowned policy expert, who played an important role in drafting the policies of PM Narendra Modi government, facilitated once again the trigger to keep hope floating that there would once be democratization of quality healthcare in India’ what with Narayana Health fame heart surgeon of Banglore, Dr. Devi Shetty, saying that in 10 years time quality healthcare would completely be disassociated with affluence. Dr. Shetty prescribed complete overhauling of the healthcare system currently prevailing in India.

The book ‘Healthcare Reforms in India’ also presents future scenario of complete turnaround in the way healthcare is delivered in India. The book is first of its kind in India and appears to diagnose what ails Indian healthcare and give transformational solution. The book serves as a comprehensive source of up-to-date information and facts to help decision makers in the field of healthcare to make more informed decisions needed for improving healthcare outcomes. Elsevier, world’s leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services and the publisher of the book hosted a seminar in Le Meridian on the STATE OF HEALTHCARE REFORMS IN INDIA to coincide with the book launch occasion in the presence of policy makers, business leaders and academicians. The chief guest Mr. SripadNaik, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH and Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Government of India and special guest Dr. (Prof.) Murli Manohar Joshi, M.P., also shared their views on the same.


India’s healthcare industry is currently growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% and is set to reach USD 280 billion by 2020.  It is one of the largest sectors in terms of revenue as well as employment. It offers direct employment to nearly five million citizens. Despite this staggering number in health employment, in comparison to World Health Organisation’s (WHO) stipulated minimum doctor to patient ratio of 1:1000, the number of doctors in India, according to a Lancet study, may be closer to 0.38 per 1000 population rather than official estimates which range from 0.70 to 0.65 per 1000 population. The total number of health workers is 0.8 per 1000 population, rather than the 2 per 1000 population reported in the census – this broad measure counts nurses, midwives, ayurvedic health workers, dentists and pharmacists alongside doctors. There are 0.12 doctors in rural areas compared to 1.13 doctors per 1000 population in urban areas, reflecting that rural areas have both a larger population and a higher proportion of health professionals reporting insufficient qualification.

The book addresses the macro aspects of healthcare system and further helps to improve it. Offering interesting insights into the health of India’s population and Indian healthcare system, the author has made a passionate appeal for political priority to be given to universal health coverage and for an upstream pre-emptive approach to health.

In his keynote address, Terig Hughes, MD, Elsevier, outlined the rapid strides that India has made in improving the healthcare scenario. Rajendra Pratap Gupta got rave reviews for his effort to chart out the transformational path of Indian healthcare from media luminaries and veritable who’s who of the domain. They are as follow:

‘In recent years, global policy makers have realized how much they can learn from India’s leading health organizations and practitioners, with their innovation and development of new models of care. This book is a fitting accompaniment. Comprehensive and detailed, it offers interesting insights into the health of India’s population and makes a passionate appeal for political priority to be given to universal health coverage and for an upstream pre-emptive approach to health.’ Lord Nigel Crisp, NHS Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary of the UK Department of Health, 2000-2006

‘This book is a must read for everyone interested in the Health Care System of India – and beyond. It is a very comprehensive source of up-to-date information and facts. But more importantly, it is a book rich in thought provoking ideas and reform proposals, which are of global relevance. One may agree with them or not. But in any event: India is well advised to carefully analyze the author’s assessment and reforms agenda.’ Dr. Thomas Zeltner, Former Secretary of Health, Switzerland

‘The book is thought provoking and inspiring. It is an excellent compendium of facts about the Indian and other Health Care Systems. It proposes to make ‘healthcare’ as a Unique Electoral Proposition (UEP), which I see as an apt prescription for political leaders across the globe. Also, the author makes
a strong recommendation for ‘Pre-Emptive care model’ based on prevention, starting with Child Health – this model has the potential to address the long-term issues in health care. I encourage others to read and study this book for ideas on how to handle one of the premier global issues.’ Prof. George F. Smoot, Nobel Prize (2006)

‘Rajendra captures the essence of health reforms in his must-read treatise on global health. His emphasis on ‘prevention’ is spot on and critical for us to meet our global challenges without breaking the bank.’ Aneesh Chopra, Former Chief Technology Officer, United States of America

‘India will be well-served by looking at all of the issues that relate to health and health care delivery. Simply looking at separate pieces of the problem may offer value for those pieces, but a more effective set of solutions could be developed by looking more broadly at both the challenges and the opportunities that reach across the entire scope of the health care continuum. This nicely comprehensive book is intended to be a step in that direction. It adds clear value to the debate and could be a useful tool for figuring out the best strategy for the future.’ George C. Halvorson, Former Chairman & CEO, Kaiser Permanente

‘I would like to congratulate Rajendra for making a spot-on analysis of health care challenges and making practical recommendations. The need to focus on universal health cover is more pronounced than ever before as is the need to emphasize pre-emptive care. This book is a reader’s delight, especially for those who aim to solve global health care problems.’ Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, Founder Chairman – Apollo Hospitals Group

‘I always felt that India will become the first country in the world to dissociate health care from affluence. Rajendra has shown why it will happen and how it will happen and to some extent, when it will happen. The book makes a profoundly interesting reading with overwhelming data to prove that, for the stability of the society, we need to develop robust health care system with equal participation by the government, private and NGO sectors. I strongly feel that a copy of this should be distributed to every policy maker of this country.’ (Dr. Devi Shetty, Chairman – Narayana Health)

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