Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Overhaul of World’s bloated Health Care System

Recent health studies have documented that fact that the chasm between the provision of health care services in rich and poor countries is getting deeper. As compared to developed countries, the inequality in access to initial child care services has increased the fatality rates in developing nations. If experts are to be believed, the chances of a newborn’s death in countries like India and Zimbabwe before the age of five is 30 times more as compared to the chances of newborn deaths in France or Sweden.

With infant mortality increasing at an alarming rate, countries across the world need to ensure the access of affordable and quality maternal care to women from the poor section. The rate of maternal deaths during childbirth is one of the highest in India. It accounts for almost one fourth of the global rate. The present condition demands public as well as private companies involved in health care services to ensure that the mortality and fertility rates remain in check. Lifespring Hospitals in Hyderabd, India has taken a similar initiative, trying to address the health needs of lower income families. The hospital works on an innovative and affordable model where normal deliveries cost only 2000 Indian rupees (45-50$) as compared to 12,000 rupees (250$) in private hospitals. This cost includes medicines and a two day stay in the hospital.

This hospital was started as a joint venture between Acumen Fund (New York based private social investor) and HLL Lifecare (public sector contraceptive manufacturer). The main aim was to serve approximately 10,000 patients per year. That’s not all, besides the provision of quality maternal health care at a low rates, Lifespring is also involved in profit making. Clinical procedures and kits have been standardized to save money, auxiliary nurse wives have been offered employment, fees for OPD is very less and these hospitals are mostly located near slum areas. By 2012, 30 such hospitals will be set up across the country for pediatric and obstetric care.

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