India continues to be one of the poor performers ranking at 154, much below China, Sri Lanka and even Bangladesh, in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare, according to the new Global Burden of Disease study published in The Lancet. The study points out that despite the country’s socio-economic development, India has failed to achieve in healthcare goals, and the gap between the score and predicted score has widened in the last 25 years.Though India’s score in the healthcare index increased by 14.1 points, from 30.7 in 1990 to 44.8 in 2015, it performed worse than expected in tuberculosis, diabetes, rheumatic heart diseases and chronic kidney disease.
Data shows, the predicted overall healthcare index score for India in 1990 would have been 48.8, whereas it would have been 68.4 in 2015.However, it scored 30.7 in 1990 and 44.8 in 2015, widening the gap between the score and predicted score to 23.6 from 18 over 25 years.
In other words, it means India has not only failed to achieve what it ought to, but also lagged behind in its efforts. “Although what India should have achieved has increased, reflecting its social and economic development, the gap between where it is and where it could be has widened,“ Martin McKee, professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
The study , funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, assesses performance for 195 countries from 1990-2015, based on death rates from 32 diseases that could be avoided by effective medical care in the country year-on-year.
India scored an index of 14 in case of neonatal disorders, 26 for tuberculosis, 25 for rheumatic heart diseases and 33 for hypertensive heart diseases. For diabetes, chronic kidney diseases and congenital heart diseases it scored 38, 20 and 45, respectively . Highlighting growing inequalities between countries, researchers pointed out that even among countries of similar development levels, there is wide variation in healthcare access and quality , exposing untapped potential for improving healthcare in these regions.
For instance, China is far ahead of India ranking at 82 with a score of 74 on the healthcare access and quality index. In fact, China, along with South Korea, Turkey , Peru, and the Maldives, have seen some of the greatest improvements in healthcare access and quality since the 1990s.
Sri Lanka has scored 73 on the index, whereas Brazil and Bangladesh have scored 65 and 52, respectively . However, India ranks above Pakistan, which has scored slightly lower on the index at 43. Globally , the healthcare index has improved significantly with 167 countries witnessing remarkable improvement in healthcare access and quality . The index increased from 40.7 in 1990 to 53.7 in 2015, worldwide. However, over the same timeframe, the divide between the best and worstperforming countries grew by almost 5 points ranging from 23.1 to 84.7 (a 61.6 point gap) in 1990 and from 28.6 to 94.6 (66.0 point gap) in 2015, highlighting growing inequalities.
“Despite overall improvement globally , there is variation in healthcare performance and few countries have consistently achieved optimal healthcare access and quality ,“ says senior author Professor Christopher Murray , Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, USA.