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Last Updated Sunday May 27 2018 01:09 PM IST

Child and maternal malnutrition remain biggest health risk

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Pregnant woman

Child and maternal malnutrition continues to be the most challenging risk factor for health loss in India, the Economic Survey.

It listed air pollution, dietary risks, high blood pressure and diabetes as other key health risk factors facing the country.

The Survey noted however that there has been significant improvement in the health status of the individual as life expectancy at birth has increased by approximately 10 years from 1990 to 2015.

Limited affordability and access to quality medical services are however among the major challenges contributing to delayed or inappropriate responses to disease control and patient management, said the Economic Survey for 2017-18, tabled in Parliament by finance minister Arun Jaitley.

The share of out of pocket expenditure (OoPE) on health stands at a staggering 62 per cent and adversely impacts the poorer sections and widens inequalities, it said.

While the expenditure by the government healthcare providers accounted for about 23 per cent of the Current Health Expenditure (CHE) as per National Health Accounts 2014 -15, the share of private hospitals and clinics stood at 31 per cent.

The findings of household health expenditure survey in India indicate that about 10 per cent of OoPE on health was spent by households on diagnostics (including medicines and diagnostic test as part of package) during 2013-14, the survey said.

There is a wide difference in average prices of diagnostic tests across various cities in India, and the range in the prices is substantial, it noted.

"There is a need to prioritize standardization of rates by devising appropriate quality assurance framework and regulatory mechanism," it added.

The Survey said that although the government has already enacted "Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 and notified the Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules, 2012 to regulate the clinical establishments across the country, presently, the act is applicable in 10 States/UTs, which needs to be taken up by remaining States while ensuring strict compliance as well".

Read: Women Health News | Heavy periods could soon be a thing of the past

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