World Bank defends investment in India’s healthcare sector

New Delhi, June 28 (EFE).- The private sector arm of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), on Wednesday defended its investments in India’s healthcare sector as “support” for the government’s plans for universal health coverage following a report by nonprofit Oxfam’s criticizing the privatization of the sector.

“Creating a healthcare system that works for all is the driving purpose of IFC’s support to India’s healthcare industry,” IFC told EFE, defending the need for “collaboration and partnership” between the public and private sectors to tackle the “challenges around access, quality and affordability” facing the Indian health system.

“IFC strongly supports the implementation of proper regulations that allow the private sector to be governed appropriately,” the World Bank agency said in response to one of the main criticisms expressed by Oxfam in a report on Monday.

In its report, Oxfam said that the privatization of India’s healthcare sector with the backing of the IFC, which has carried out dozens of projects in the Asian country over more than two decades, did not take into account the problems plaguing the private healthcare sector, such as overbilling or denial of healthcare.

The nonprofit urged the IFC to “stop new investments in private hospitals and clinics in India until existing investments and operations in this sector are independently reviewed.”

According to the report, direct spending – not covered by insurance in a country where 59 percent of the population does not have public or private health insurance cover – pushes 63 million Indians into poverty every year.

India does not have a universal social security system, although it does have a universal and free health coverage network across the country.

However, the network does not have the capacity to cater to the needs of the entire population, which largely lacks real access to healthcare. EFE


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