Resurgence of COVID-19 infection to affect Indian healthcare system significantly: Fitch
“The continued lack of medical funding and healthcare infrastructure inform our view for the potential epidemic to be worse if it is not adequately contained,” said Fitch Solutions.
India remains badly placed to tackle the rapid spread of coronavirus despite several reforms and the unprecedented crisis has highlighted the need to increase investments in the healthcare sector, Fitch Solutions said on Friday.
“The continued lack of medical funding and healthcare infrastructure inform our view for the potential epidemic to be worse if it is not adequately contained,” it said.
Having 8.5 hospital beds per 10,000 population and 8 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 public sector do not match up with the growing needs of the population.
In addition, said Fitch, more than 80 per cent of the population still does not have any significant health insurance coverage and about 68 per cent of the population has limited or no access to essential medicines.
The low level of public spending on health is both a cause and an exacerbating factor accounting for the poor quality, limited reach and insufficient public provisioning of healthcare.
“Dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic has brought out the critical importance of public sector in health provisioning,” said Fitch.
The country of 1.35 billion people has administered 80.9 million vaccine doses until April, the most after the United States and China, but it lags far behind in immunizations per capita. India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, expanded its inoculation program to include everyone above the age of 45. But so far it has vaccinated only about one in 25 people compared with nearly one in two in Britain and one in three in the United States.
As India battles the second wave of COVID-19 with over 100,000 cases reported every day over the past six days, experts fear the spike will cause a huge setback to the country’s Health.
Last year, the outbreak of COVID-19 led to an abrupt cessation of medical activities and loss of jobs, plunging India’s economy into its worst phase in four decades. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 23.9 percent in the 2020 April-June quarter amid the government’s response to impose a countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
At the beginning of this year, as the daily COVID-19 cases saw a decline and cities returned to business, experts and rating agencies predicted a quick immunity turnaround for India. However, these estimates did not take into account the possibility of a fresh wave of COVID-19, which has again cast a shadow on the country’s struggling immunity level.