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Opinion

Sustainable pricing model could have saved more lives: Parliamentary panel on Covid-19 deaths

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A parliamentary panel said on Saturday that many deaths due to Covid-19 may have occurred due to the lack of a sustainable pricing model. The panel also highlighted that the lack of specific guidelines for treating Covid-19 patients and the inadequate number of hospital beds led to private hospitals charging high fees.

The report titled “Covid-19 pandemic outbreak and its management” was presented to Rajya Sabha Vice President and Chairman Venkaiah Naidu by Samajwadi Party Leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav.

The report noted that “the cost of providing healthcare services increased due to the absence of specific guidelines for the treatment of COVID in private hospitals, as a result of which patients were charged exorbitant fees.”

The panel, according to PTI, also noted that the amount of money spent to enable government-run healthcare facilities is “abysmally low.” He said that the “fragile structure” of the Indian healthcare system led to such a response against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report advised: “The committee, therefore, strongly recommends that the government increase its investments in the public health system and make consistent efforts to achieve the National Health Policy goals of spending up to 2.5 percent of GDP within two years as the established time frame. 2025 is a long way off and public health cannot be compromised until then ”.

The panel also highlighted that government hospitals were ill-equipped to care for non-Covid-19 patients as they struggled to treat an increasing number of Covid-19 patients.

While highlighting that the sustainable pricing model could have helped save many lives, the committee also noted that public-private partnership in the healthcare sector could be beneficial to the general public.

The report praised all doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals for their dedication during the first months of the pandemic. He also thanked other frontline workers for their service and proposed that the doctors who died during the outbreak in the line of duty be recognized as martyrs.

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