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Survey for more healthcare investment

July 07, 2004 16:43 IST

Expressing concern over the increasing number of HIV/AIDS infected persons in the country, the pre-Budget Economic Survey on Wednesday recommended larger investments in healthcare services.

The number of people (men, women and children) infected with HIV/AIDS rose to 4.58 million in 2003 from 3.5 million in 1998 with an adult (15-49 years) prevalence rate of 0.8 per cent, it said.

Economic Survey 2003-2004: Complete Coverage

"These figures are a cause of increasing concern as persons infected with HIV will progress to AIDS, resulting in a steep increase in number of AIDS patients in the country with consequent medical, economic and social implications," the Survey said.

It recommended larger investments in healthcare services and proper implementation of National Health Policy, 2002, which envisages increase in public health investment from the present 0.9 per cent of GDP to two per cent of GDP by 2010.

On the healthcare delivery system, the Survey pointed out the "paradoxical" situation created with the plethora of hospitals run by the government, voluntary and private sectors but few located in areas with high morbidity.

It also highlighted the fact that many of the hospitals were without appropriate manpower, diagnostic and therapeutic services and drugs and facilities were poorest in the most needy remote rural areas.

To overcome these problems and reduce imbalances, the Survey advocated reorganisation and restructuring of existing healthcare infrastructure at primary, secondary and tertiary levels as outlined in the Tenth Five Year Plan and proper utilisation of funds.

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