Unregulated Private Health Sector: India’s Challenges in Realizing Universal Health Coverage

Kesavan Sreekantan Nair, Syed Arif Pasha


Since India’s independence in 1947, private health sector has witnessed a rapid growth. Today, private sector occupies a major share of health entities, health workforce and medical education institutions in the country. This paper provides an overview of private health sector in India, factors contributing to its growth, and major public policy implications in achieving universal health care based on extensive review of literature and other relevant descriptive information. The findings reveal that private health sector provides 80% of out-patient care and 60% of inpatient care in the country. There are 1.35 million private health entities delivering health services in the country, out of which 0.74 million are own account enterprises run by individual practitioners. About 76% of all private sector entities are allopathic facilities. This sector is largely unregulated with diversity of providers varying in qualifications, physical infrastructure, standards of care, technical knowledge, which are unfavorably affecting costs and quality of care. Strict implementation of regulations to influence private provider behavior in improving quality, reducing cost, appropriate use of medical technology, and accountability along with a huge investment in the public health sector are necessary to guarantee the availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality of health services for every individual.

Keywords: private health sector, public health sector, health workforce, health insurance

DOI: 10.7176/PPAR/10-3-07

Publication date:March 31st 2020

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

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