The Untold Truth about Karnataka’s Health: Govt Hiding Behind A Veil

The Untold Truth about Karnataka’s Health: Govt Hiding Behind A Veil

Karnataka already which is decades ahead in the software industry as against the rest of the country has some disappointing facts on the health front.

This sector which caters to livelihood for 25 lacs of the population has been catering to the up keeping of its natives in a discordant fashion.

Some statistical data derived from the government sources clearly indicate, it still lags behind the neighbouring States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The Maternal Mortality Ratio reported for Karnataka is 133 per 100,000 live births in 2015; which is the highest among the four southern States.

The Infant Mortality Rate in Karnataka is 28 per 1,000 live births is higher than Kerala and Tamil Nadu which is 12 and 22 respectively implying more children die at birth.

The seven districts of north Karnataka Yadgir, Gulbarga, Raichur, Koppal, Bellary, Bidar, Bagalkot and in the south Chamaraja Nagar have worst health indicators as compared to the rest of the state.

In a comprehensive study conducted by IIM Ahmedabad to analyses the performance of Indian states with regard to the health of their populace, Karnataka dropped down from 7th rank in 2009 to 10th rank in 2013.

In comparison, Maharashtra (1) & Tamil Nadu (2) retained their ranks and Andhra Pradesh ( from 4 to 3) and Kerala (8 to 5) improved their ranks that clearly demonstrates we are not gaining anything.

As per the performance report of Karnataka Govt. It has just 5 health dispensaries per 100,000 people, which is the lowest among southern states; Andhra Pradesh (23), Tamil Nadu (14), & Kerala (61) as displayed in the brackets.

Community Health Centre (CHC) distribution is grossly deficient at 1 CHC per 142 villages as against efficient outreach of public sector health accessibility among southern states as shown Andhra Pradesh (1 per 95 villages), Tamil Nadu (1 per 42 villages), & Kerala (1 per 5 villages).

In Karnataka, each CHC covers 906 sq. km of the rural area which is the largest area of service as compared among to Andhra Pradesh (1 per 872 sq. km.), Tamil Nadu (1 per 305 sq. km.), & Kerala (1 per 160 sq. km.)

Karnataka has 705 doctors per 100,000 people least among its neighbours of Maharashtra (1,068), Andhra Pradesh (843), Tamil Nadu (1,098), & Kerala (1,636).

40% of total specialists posts (Surgeons, OB-GYN, Physicians & Paediatricians) in CHC in Karnataka were unfilled as of 31st March 2016. In Spite of Karnataka having the highest number of medical colleges and third highest number of doctors trained in the country why is it nobody is here? there is the issue of political harassment and poor work culture with overburdening which makes government the last choice of employment for doctors.

Karnataka government’s health expenditure as a proportion to the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) has decreased from 1.46% in 2000-01 to 1.0% in 2013-14.

– Karnataka govt’s drug purchase has significantly dropped to 6.3% in 2011-12 from high as 7.9% in 2001-02 of the state’s health expenditure with its own Lokayukta implicating it to have the highest pilferage up to 25% due to corruption in procuring and distribution.

Considering all of the above, one would think that Health ministry’s hands are full and has its priorities clear on where the focus should be; i.e. improving public health infrastructure and services.

According to the 71st National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) Survey (2014), Karnataka is the only State which has seen a decline in the utilization of public health services in the last decade from 34% to 26% an essential right of its citizens not addressed to.

In contrast, the private sector has grown exponentially in the state in the last decade with people voluntarily patronising the private sector due to efficient care, reliable and prompt services which is a mirage in the Government sector.

The need of the hour for the citizens is to get quality healthcare at affordable prices through a private-public participation.

The govt being a minor partner in the delivery model with lack of expertise and resources can efficiently utilise the private sector.

Alas rather than being honest about its lacunae and breakdown to introspect and rectify its taken a turn of unfair sportsmanship by bringing up KPMEA.

The loser will be the people of the state with a fragile govt health system which will be inundated with the rural and semi-urban people rushing to its services with the implementation of KPMEA.

The private sector is a self-sustaining model of success instead of promoting it , the present administration is hell-bent on throttling it.

Sad but true the death bell is at the anvil for the sizable majority of this state with a short-sighted legislation.






by Dr Prakash Harischandra