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Problems In India’s Public Health Care System Lead To Growth Of Private Medicine

Toronto’s Star reports on how problems within India’s health care system — such as absent doctors and nurses, a lack of necessary equipment, corruption and one of the lowest health budgets in the world — has led to the mistrust of the public system and has paved the way for private medicine in the country. According to the newspaper, “In a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology survey in India, 79 percent said they opted for private doctors or traditional healers rather than government-run hospitals,” and that “they spent an average seven percent of their monthly income on health care.”

“Despite appearances, India has made substantial progress in health care since it became a nation in 1947,” the Star notes, citing a drop in the fertility rate for each woman of child-bearing age, which has dropped from six births to three since the economy was liberalized in 1991; an increase in family planning usage; and an increase in life expectancy. The newspaper highlights a number of successful health initiatives and innovative programs at work in the country (Westhead, 11/12).