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Coronavirus pandemic | Lack of medical funds poses challenge in fight against COVID-19: Fitch Solutions

"The continued lack of medical funding and healthcare infrastructure inform our view for the potential epidemic to be worse in India if it is not adequately contained. With 8.5 hospital beds per 10,000 population and 8.0 physicians per 10,000, the country's healthcare sector is not equipped for such a crisis," Fitch Solutions said.

April 01, 2020 / 02:08 PM IST

Continued lack of medical funds and healthcare infrastructure despite additional funding poses challenges in mounting an effective response against the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report.

"The continued lack of medical funding and healthcare infrastructure inform our view for the potential epidemic to be worse in India if it is not adequately contained. With 8.5 hospital beds per 10,000 population and 8.0 physicians per 10,000, the country's healthcare sector is not equipped for such a crisis," Fitch Solutions said.

Moreover, the significant inefficiency, dysfunctioning, and acute shortage of the healthcare delivery systems in the public sector appear to be insufficient to match up with the growing needs of the population, it said.

Fitch Solutions noted that more than 80 percent of the population still does not have any significant health insurance coverage and approximately 68 percent of the Indian population has limited or no access to essential medicines.

"In addition, over the last two decades, the availability of free medicines in public healthcare facilities has declined from 31.2 percent to 8.9 percent for inpatient care and from 17.8 percent to 5.9 percent for outpatient care, according to a Public Health Foundation of India study," it said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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India has seen its number of cases increase rapidly, it said adding that the number of cases is expected to continue to rise, driving demand for healthcare services.
PTI
first published: Apr 1, 2020 02:00 pm

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