According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the population of India is 1.2 billion, yet it occupies a physical area that is one third the size of the continental United States (population 310 million). By the year 2070, the population of India could exceed 2 Billion. Acceleration in economic growth has made India among the 10 fastest growing developing countries, yet the country’s per capita income remains low, with 35% of the population earning less than $1 US/day.
Primary Health Care: Now More Than Ever
Health is among the top personal concerns. 40% of the population cited health as their main concern before other issues, such as financial problems, housing or crime.
- 40% of children under 3 years of age are malnourished;
- More than 2 million children die annually from preventable and curable infectious
diseases and other causes;
- 50% of women are anemic;
- Only 15% of mothers receive complete prenatal care;
- Only 34% of deliveries take place in facilities, and, at best, only 42% are assisted by a
- Tuberculosis kills more than 1,000 a day, but only 1 out of 6 has access to effective
- 0.3% of adults in India are infected with HIV, representing nearly 6 million infected
people, a number second only to South Africa;
- There are only 6 medical practitioners per 10,000 (compared to the United States’ 55
doctors per 10,000);
- Only 2% of India’s central government expenditure is allocated for healthcare
Although rapid changes in the world of media and information technology have contributed
to higher health awareness, the rural population of Indian still faces two major challenges:
- Access to adequate medical facilities and qualified personnel, and
- The ability to pay for examinations, testing, procedures, treatment and medications.
To this end, recognizing that if the problems of India could be solved, solutions would
then be available for other nations facing similar problems.
international agencies and foundations from large (Bill Gates, Bill Clinton) to small are
coming forward to compassionately address this health crisis of immense proportion.