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Party President explores UK's affordable healthcare model to prepare blueprint for India

PTI Aug 27, 2018

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on August 26 met with doctors, medical students and academicians from across the UK and Europe to initiate the process of preparing a blueprint for an affordable healthcare system in India.

Gandhi, in conjunction with the Indian Overseas Congress UK, initiated the work of this broad-based working group during his ongoing two-day visit to London. The working group includes medical professionals from King's College, Imperial College and the UK's state-funded National Health Service (NHS). Gandhi said: "The next revolution in India will be a healthcare revolution.

"This is a committee of professionals that has come together for the benefit of India. This blueprint will act as a living bridge between global best practice and India's needs. It will help the Congress realise its vision for a more inclusive, affordable and modern Indian healthcare system".

There is a six-month turnaround period for the blueprint, which is anticipated to meet regularly in London and elsewhere in Europe. It will focus on two key areas: affordable healthcare for the masses and prioritising prevention over cure.

India spends Rs 1,112 (12.30 pounds or USD 15.94) per capita on public health, which is Rs 3 a day. It spends only 1.02 per cent of its GDP on public health, which is amongst the lowest in the world. According to the World Bank, India spends less than the average of Low Income Countries, at 1.4 per cent. By contrast, the UK spends 7.9 per cent of its GDP on government expenditure on healthcare.

India's low public-health spending is one reason why citizens often turn to the private sector for healthcare. Several studies have shown that these expenditures push around more than 30 million below the poverty line every year. The event, organised by the UK's Royal Society of Medicine, was attended by over 200 medical and other professionals. During the symposium, Gandhi addressed issues around diabetes, mental health and ageing challenges in India as well as lessons that could be learnt from the NHS. 

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