Top health spenders fail in key areas: Assocham

August 20th, 2008 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Aug 20 (IANS) The states which have spent the most in the health sector have fared miserably in key areas, according to an industry lobby study released Wednesday. The study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said the top 10 states in health spending ranked low in indicators like infant mortality, death rate and availability of health institutions per million people.

It said while health spending grew at the rate of 25 percent in these states, this has not helped them gain better position on various health indicators.

The study titled ‘States Health Expenditure and Performance’, found that Chhattisgarh (39.4 percent), Uttarakhand (37.8 percent), Sikkim (26.8 percent), Andhra Pradesh (26.7 percent) and Orissa (24.9 percent) occupied the top five positions, respectively, in terms of health spending in 2007-08.

Meghalaya, Assam, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Tripura are the other five countries in the top-10 spenders’ list.

“In 2007-08, Chhattisgarh tops the table in growth of expenditure on medical and public health with Rs.5.06 billion as compared to Rs.3.63 billion in the previous fiscal recording a jump of around 40 percent,” Assocham said.

However, the infant mortality rate of the state is 61 per thousand, which 23rd position in the all-India ranking. Similarly, it ranks 24th on death rates.

The report added that Chhattisgarh has 722 various health institutions, out of which 633 were ayurvedic dispensaries.

When it comes to the availability of health institutions per one million people, Chhattisgarh is in 10th position.

“Even as the state government’s budget allocation on healthcare has increased but lack of specialised doctors, medical assistance and non-availability of quality drugs and medicines reaching all sections of the people is acting as an impediment in improving their health indicators,” Assocham president Sajjan Jindal said.

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