India is at a pivotal moment in its health-care journey

Source– The post is based on the article “India is at a pivotal moment in its health-care journey” published in “The Indian Express” on 18th September 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Issues related to development and management of healthcare

Relevance- Healthcare sector in India

News-The article explains the health challenges faced by India and achievement of India in the healthcare sector. It also explains the potential of AI in transforming the healthcare sector in India.

What are significant health challenges faced by India?

It is the world’s diabetes capital. Millions of people are suffering from conditions like hypertension.

India’s youth are increasingly affected by health issues like heart attacks, cancer, respiratory problems, and depression.

If these non-communicable diseases continue to go unchecked, it’s projected that the burden on India’s healthcare system will reach nearly $4 trillion by 2030.

This could result in a significant “age tax” on the country’s demographic dividend.

What are the achievements made by India in the healthcare sector since the 1980s?

Key health metrics have seen significant improvements. Infant mortality has decreased fourfold, and maternal mortality has decreased sevenfold. The average life expectancy of an Indian has increased by nearly 30%, from 55 years to over 70.

India boasts world-class healthcare infrastructure. It has exceptional clinical talent capable of delivering clinical outcomes on a massive scale and at a fraction of the global cost.

India’s expertise extends to highly specialised areas such as organ transplants, cardiology, oncology, and more.

India has emerged as a prominent global hub for Medical Value Travel, particularly in fields like oncology, orthopaedics, and robotic surgery.

A noteworthy achievement in this journey is the introduction of proton beam therapy technology. It has established India as a regional leader in cancer treatment.

Robotic surgery has also gained popularity. Indian hospitals have adopted robotic-assisted techniques for precision and quicker recovery.

What is the potential of AI in promoting the healthcare industry in India?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly revolutionising healthcare worldwide.

The country possesses a vast pool of talented data scientists, engineers, and healthcare professionals who can drive innovation in AI-based healthcare solutions.

AI can have a significant impact in diagnostics. AI-powered tools can enhance the accuracy and efficiency of medical diagnoses. It can lead to faster treatment decisions and improved patient outcomes.

Additionally, AI can predict disease outbreaks, analyse healthcare data, and optimise treatment plans, expediting healthcare procedures and revolutionising drug discovery. This makes healthcare more personalised and effective.

Way forward-

India must continue to invest in research and development in AI in healthcare. It must facilitate collaborations between academia and industry and create an ecosystem that encourages innovation.

India must prioritise community health, promote public-private partnerships, and invest in innovation and research.

Public-private partnerships can create a favourable environment for Medical Value Tourism by jointly investing in infrastructure, promoting medical tourism, and establishing international healthcare accreditation bodies.

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