Impact of Covid-19 on Indian Healthcare System

This pandemic has put significant stress on our already limited healthcare resource. Healthcare in India is a vast system & can be much like the rest of the country : full of complexity & paradoxes. In terms of revenue and employment, Healthcare has become one of India’s largest sectors. Healthcare includes hospitals, medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment. The Indian healthcare sector is growing day by day.

What makes for a just health care system even as an ideal? Four criterias could be suggested –

1. Universal access, access to an adequate level, & access without excessive burden.

2. Fair distribution of financial costs for access, a constant search for improvement to a more just system, & fair distribution of burden in rationing care and capacity.

3. Training providers for competence empathy & accountability, pursuit of quality care & cost-effective use of the results of relevant research.

4. Special attention to vulnerable groups such as children, women, disabled and the aged.

Indian healthcare system is categorised into two major components : public and private. The public hospital system is essentially free for all Indian residents except for small payments in some services. The overall response to the pandemic witnessed both the private & public sector working together. The healthcare industry, along with the central & state governments were tackling with the pandemic by setting up of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, isolation centres and tech-enabled mapping of resources. The Aarogya Setu mobile app which assisted in mapping, contact tracing and self-assessment was widely used throughout the country.

India is a popular destination for medical tourists-given the relatively low costs & high quality of its private hospitals. International students in India should expect to rely on private hospitals for advanced medical care.

Dealing with Covid-19 was not only difficult in India but the pandemic was even testing more developed healthcare system all over the world. Our healthcare systems were not designed to deal with such crisis. It was very challenging for health sector to handle Covid-19. During the initial stage the government imposed a lockdown for handling the same. As soon as the lockdown period was over, number of infected people started increasing. The government of India declared a nationwide lockdown from 25 March 2020 as a preventative measure against the COVID-19 pandemic in India when the numbers of recorded cases were only 519, with nine reported deaths.

The situation was under control after a while but the second wave destroyed the pillar of hope. This time it was more serious than before as there was shortage of ICU beds, oxygen cylinders, & even the medicines were not available. Unavailability of the resources made the situation worse. With daily Covid-19 cases crossing the grim milestone of one lakh, several hospitals across the country were stretched beyond their capacities in handling the rising burden of the highly infectious disease. States such as Maharashtra, Delhi, Chennai, Punjab & Karnataka were bearing the maximum load of the pandemic were falling short of health infrastructure & equipment ranging from oxygen to ventilators. Maharashtra, India’s second most populous and wealthiest state, topped the list of most affected states in the country.

Covid-19 has a very bad impact in different segments of society including marginalized and vulnerable population being affected by it. It impacts on the general health, mental health and social well-being of the population. Covid-19 has exhausted us physically & mentally. News channels were broadcasting negative news 24/7 which made people overthink certain things. This had a bad impact on the mental well-being of the population. People were scared & they were not able to be optimistic during the pandemic.

We should follow all the necessary precautions & guidelines given by the government for fighting with this novel coronavirus. We all are in this together so instead of spreading negativity, we all should try to remain optimistic & create a positive environment for all.