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Addressing Surgical Care Challenges in India's Healthcare



  Jan 09, 2024

Challenges in India’s Surgical Care



Overview:

India, like many low-and middle-income countries, faces significant challenges in providing adequate surgical care. Despite the high need, surgical care is often overlooked in public health planning.

Key Challenges in India’s Surgical Care:

1. Limited Access: Many Indians, especially in rural areas, can’t access surgical care when needed. Over 90% of rural residents may lack timely surgical care.
2. Infrastructure and Workforce Shortages: Rural areas often lack necessary medical facilities, roads, vehicles, and medical staff like surgeons and anesthetists.
3. Inadequate Surgical Capacity: The capacity to perform sufficient surgeries is limited, especially outside major cities. In rural areas, the met need for major surgeries is under 7%.
4. Quality of Care: Safe surgical outcomes depend on well-trained surgeons, proper equipment, and good peri-operative care. However, data on safety, like perioperative mortality rates, is often inconsistent or missing.
5. Financial Burden: Most surgeries in rural India lead to catastrophic expenses due to the absence of universal healthcare and limited free or subsidized care in public hospitals.

Examples of Current Initiatives:

Association for Rural Surgeons of India: Supports rural surgeons.
EMRI Green Health Services: Provides emergency and trauma care.
SEARCH and Jan Swasthya Sahyog: Serve tribal populations in remote areas.
Global Surgery India Hub: Aims to strengthen surgical care research networks.

Lack of Policy Focus:

Surgical care has received little attention in policies like the National Health Policy (2017).
Unlike some African and South Asian countries, India lacks a National Surgical Obstetric Anaesthesia Plan (NSOAP).

The Way Forward:

Recognize the problem: Acknowledge the impact of inadequate surgical care on public health.
Improve data collection: Integrate surgical care data into existing surveys and develop new data mechanisms.
Policy integration: Develop policies specifically targeting improvements in surgical care, infrastructure, workforce training, and financial support for patients.
In summary, India’s surgical care system faces various challenges, including access, quality, and financial burden. Addressing these requires a holistic approach, integrating surgical care into the broader public health framework and policy initiatives.

SRIRAM’s


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