Decades of appallingly low investment in the public health sector has left India with a crumbling health system, unable to meet the needs of its citizens. Despite efforts in recent years to strengthen the public health system, India has one of the lowest levels of government investment in health in the world, just one percent of GDP in 2010, with only four countries allocating a smaller share of their overall budget. The gap left by the public health system, combined with a government policy of proactively promoting the private sector, has led to the proliferation of private health providers which are unregulated, unaccountable, and out of control. Oxfam is calling on the Government of India to prioritise strengthening and scaling-up of a universal public health care system, designed to improve accountability and promote community participation in planning and monitoring health services. The regulation of private providers (including hospitals, nursing homes and other clinical establishments) must be properly enforced, and further promotion and funding of Public-Private Partnerships must cease until quality and equity performance standards are shown to have improved.
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