State healthcare provision: how do developing economies compare?
A country’s healthcare system is often a good indicator of its economic success and level of societal care. You can often draw conclusions about a country by how it treats its citizens when it comes to the provision of basic healthcare.
However, there are always exceptions to the rule. One good exception is the US; in spite of its economic success, the US still lags far behind other wealthy developed countries. Most developed nations provide universal health care for their citizens, allowing people to walk into hospitals and receive the medical attention that they need. This is different in the US, which operates on a fee-for-service system. Although it is a leading country in terms of clinical trials and healthcare innovations, some of its citizens cannot afford basic healthcare.
How do other countries compare when it comes to healthcare provision? Are developing countries performing better than their developed counterparts in taking care of their citizens? Healthcare provision in different developing or emerging economies is discussed below:
- Kuwait. Kuwait’s healthcare system is one of the best in the Middle East. The Kuwaiti government takes great pains to distribute the country’s oil wealth to its people, and this translates in providing free healthcare, free education, and a subsidized pension fund. The Director General of the Public Institution for Social Security, Fahad Al-Rajaan, commends his government on this, and says that it is imperative that the people are taken care of to build a strong society. Healthcare in this country is a priority of the government, and there is little input from private entities.
- China. The Chinese government has long experimented with different approaches to healthcare. In the 1950s, healthcare was free courtesy of the Communist government, but this changed in the 1980s, resulting in most people losing their trust in the health system. However, the government responded and instituted a raft of measures through the Chinese Ministry of Health to improve health insurance for the people. According to the WHO, 95% of the population in China had health insurance in 2011, vastly improving access to health facilities and medical care. This is quite a feat for such a populous country. China’s successful economic growth has also resulted in decreased dependence of aid across the country.
- India. Data from the WHO shows that India accounts for 21% of the global disease burden. The country has a poor track record of healthcare and consistently reports high infant and maternal mortality rates. The healthcare sector labors under a shortage of both workforce and infrastructure. Due to this, the government introduced a National Health Policy in 1983 aimed at improving access to basic healthcare. The public health sector is currently undergoing reforms, while private institutions offer better healthcare facilities. Recent years have seen more public-private partnerships, resulting in well-equipped hospitals that provide excellent diagnostic and treatment services to the population. Healthcare insurance has also increased among the populace.
As you can see from these examples, economic growth does not necessarily translate to better healthcare for a country’s citizens. State healthcare provision remains a dream in some nations, while others have already achieved it. It is worth noting that any country that hopes to have a satisfied citizenry needs to invest in a good healthcare system.