Summary of Health Dimensions of Development
The unit dealt with some of the important health dimensions of development. The relationship between health and development is a two way process with the linkage and impact being influenced both ways. The demand for health care, like in the case of education, is both a consumption as well as an investment good. The government’s role in providing health care services is necessary although the private sector is desired to be accorded a suitable role. Such a stand is warranted both due to scarcity of resources and also due to the concerns of equity. The state of development of an economy determines the extent and the areas in which the private sector can be involved in providing health services. In the initial stages of development more government resources should be spent on primary health needs.
As an economy advances, the ensuing higher incomes in the hands of the people enable them with an improved capacity to self-finance many of their basic health needs. At such a stage, the priorities of investments in health can take a different course. The stage at which medical insurance enters the market is also determined by the economic progress achieved by a country. Interaction of the health care sector with the insurance market is associated with both benefits and hazards. Its effective functioning requires developed market structures and institutional mechanisms to achieve the required balance in this regard. While a regulatory role by the government remains a crucial need, the advantages of selectively involving the private sector in providing the health services merits to be given due recognition. This is necessary as the resources of the government would not be adequate to meet the demands of the health sector on its own. In achieving a proper balance in this regard issues like competition, local needs & choices, and contracting are identified as important considerations. The progressive advances made in the health sector, in which the role of the technological developments is immense, has contributed to improving the health status of mankind. However, with each conquest a newer challenge has always emerged keeping the dynamics of health sector continuously challenging in its nature.