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Public Healthcare System in India: An Overview


Public healthcare in India is a complex system dominated by the private sector. Private hospitals in India have grown tremendously in the past decades, and the growth of private hospitals has accelerated with the introduction of high-cost drugs. The government of India’s public healthcare system is a modern, comprehensive, and efficient system. It is a blend of public and private sectors. It offers comprehensive healthcare to all citizens in a way that the private sector cannot. At the same time, it uses the private sector to achieve its goals.

The lack of information about the public health system in India is frustrating and requires a lot of research. Although in the last ten years, the Indian healthcare system has increased its capacity to provide clinical services and treatment to the populace. It has not increased the number of beds, but it has increased the number of associated services. Even after everything, the Indian healthcare system has provided primary care to the country’s people. It has not only provided healthcare to the people of India, but it has also provided healthcare to people all over the world.

The Indian Health sector consists of-

Medical care providers and caretakers like physicians, specialist clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, diagnostic service centers, pathology laboratories, medical equipment manufacturers, contract research organizations (CROs), and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Health Care Sector in India: A Historical Perspective

Before Independence:-

The Indian health care system has always been mainly based on voluntary work. Since old times, traditional practitioners of health care have contributed to the medicinal needs of society. However, in recent years, the Indian health care system has increasingly become dependent on modern medicine.

The colonial rule and British dominance changed the scenario, with Christian missionary-managed hospitals in the spotlight. Even the intellectual elite, with their pro-Western bias, favored Western practices.

After Independence

Before independence, healthcare in India was in shambles, with many deaths and the spread of infectious diseases. After independence, the Government focussed on Primary Health Care, and the country has put in sustained efforts to better its healthcare system. In addition, India has put a significant amount of effort into reducing the spread of infectious diseases.

Many issues took place before and after India gained independence. The country has experienced many setbacks and successes in the last ten decades. 

Private Sector:-

The Indian health care system has always been predominantly based on the private sector. The private sector has provided a significant amount of healthcare, but it now dominates the Indian healthcare system.

Till about 20 years back, the private sector consisted of only solo practitioners, small hospitals, and nursing homes. There were only a few hospitals, private clinics, and doctors. After about 20 years, the private healthcare sector has increased dramatically. The private sector now has multiple clinics in the country with the main goal of providing primary care in the country. They did not know how to provide quality care but today, there are thousands of healthcare companies in India. 

The private sector has made tremendous progress, but on the flip side, it is also responsible for increasing inequality in the healthcare sector. It should be making more efforts to be more socially relevant, and efforts must be made to make the private sector access the weaker section of society.

Health care system in India

Traditional Healthcare Systems in India

India is a land of ancient healthcare systems, and the healthcare system in India is one of the oldest in the world. Traditional medicine in India has been practiced for thousands of years. Indian medicine is known as Hatha Yoga, and Indian medicine is known as Ayurveda. 


Ayurveda means “the science of life.” The primary goal of Ayurveda is to maintain a state of balance and to balance the body. The Ayurvedic system is based on ancient Indian culture, roots in Vedic traditions.

The main principle of Ayurveda is that the body naturally can absorb various substances and nutrients, and to do that, the body needs to be cleansed. When the body is not cleansed, it becomes weak.

Siddha system

Siddha is based on the principle of a mixture of herbs, flowers, and spices. The main purpose of Siddha is to treat the lifestyle diseases, such as indigestion, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. The Siddha system is a holistic system with roots in the ancient Vedic traditions. It is based on ancient Indian culture and is considered to have originated in old India.


Yoga is the scientific study of human movement, relaxation, and meditation. Yoga is the science of exercise and relaxation, the science of the body, mind, and spirit. The scientific study of Yoga is the study of the human body and mind.

It is the process of self-development. In the process of Yoga, there are many benefits for the patient. It is a process of self-development, and it can help patients achieve a lot of goals. The practice of Yoga is an important factor in maintaining the health and well-being of the human body.


Naturopathy is the study of the body and mind, and the best way to treat the body is to treat the mind first.

The Sanskrit word “naturopathy” is commonly used to describe the study of ancient medicine. Naturopathy means “the study of the body,” and it is the study of the human body. It has several references in the Vedas and other ancient texts, which indicate that people widely practiced these methods in old India. Naturopathy believes that all diseases arise due to the accumulation of morbid matter in the body. If the scope is given for its removal, it provides a cure or relief.

Modern (Allopathic) Healthcare Systems in India.

Allopathic healthcare systems in India are based on the approach of modern medicine. The modern-day healthcare systems can be divided into four broad categories: Ayurveda, Siddha, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Homeopathy.

The modern health care system in India, consisting of a public sector, a private sector, and an informal network of care providers, has faced challenges due to the size, scale, and spread of the country, which makes it difficult to adhere to all of the well-intended guidelines and regulations. Although there are norms and procedures, compliance with these standards is minimal. In reality, the sector operates in a largely unregulated environment, with minimal controls on what services can be provided, by whom, in what manner, and at what cost. Thus, wide disparities in access, price, levels, and quality of health services provided across the country are the result.

Health Care Situation: Areas of Concern

• Only 43.5% of children are fully immunized.

• 79.1% of the children from 6 months to 5 years of age are anemic.

• 56.1% of ever-married women aged 15-50 suffer from anemia.

• Infant Mortality Rate in the country is 58/1000, along with a low of 12 for Kerala and a high of 80 for Madhya Pradesh.

• Maternal Mortality Rate is 301 for a country with a low of 110 for Kerala and a high of 518 for UP and Uttaranchal in the 2001-03 period.

Health, far from accepted as a basic right of the people, is now being shaped into a saleable commodity

• Poor are being excluded from health services

• Increased Indebtedness among poor (Expenditure on health care is a second major cause of Indebtedness among rural poor)

• Difference across the economic class spectrum and by gender in the untreated illness has significantly increased cutbacks by the poor on food and other consumptions resulting in increased illnesses and malnutrition.


India’s health scenario currently presents a contrasting picture, with health tourism and private healthcare being promoted on the one hand. At the same time, on the other, a large section of the Indian population still reels from the risk of curable, treatable diseases that do not receive adequate attention from policymakers.

In India, private hospitals are not deemed to be equivalent to government hospitals. The private sector in India is not independent and does not have the same degree of accountability. Thus, a patronage system allows doctors to make money off of patients instead of the government. Although the government has been increasing healthcare spending via initiatives like the National Rural Health Mission, much remains to be done. The priority will be to develop effective and sustainable online healthcare consultation systems in the country that can meet the dual demands posed by the growth in non-communicable diseases and peoples’ needs for better quality and higher levels of health care.



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