Fitch highlights India's two big challenges in fight against coronavirus

With 8.5 hospital beds per 10,000 citizens and eight physicians per 10,000, the country's healthcare sector is not equipped for such a crisis
Despite additional funding, the continued lack of medical investment and healthcare infrastructure will present challenges to mounting an effective response in India against Covid-19 pandemic, Fitch Solutions has said.

"The continued lack of medical funding and healthcare infrastructure inform our view for the potential epidemic to be worse in India if it is not adequately contained," Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research (a unit of Fitch Group) said in its outlook for India's pharmaceutical market, news agency PTI reported.

With 8.5 hospital beds per 10,000 citizens and eight physicians per 10,000, the country's healthcare sector is not equipped for such a crisis.

Moreover, the significant inefficiency, dysfunctioning and acute shortage of the healthcare delivery systems in the public sector do not match up with the growing needs of the population.

In addition, more than 80 per cent of the population still does not have any significant health insurance coverage, and approximately 68 per cent of the Indians have limited or no access to essential medicines.

Furthermore, over the last two decades, the availability of free medicines in public healthcare facilities has declined from 31.2 per cent to 8.9 per cent for inpatient care, and from 17.8 per cent to 5.9 per cent for outpatient care, the rating agency said citing a Public Health Foundation of India study.

It also said that the growth within India's pharmaceuticals and healthcare market will be supported by the government's push towards achieving universal health coverage status.

An improving business environment and planned healthcare reforms will be positive for innovative drugmakers and as such the market will continue to hold significant potential as the third-largest pharmaceutical market in the Asia-Pacific region, it said.


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