Health and Health Care Financing in South Asia:Continuing Inequity?
Dr. Anwar Islam
Journal Title:International Journal of Current Medical Science and Dental Research
Along with the Indian sub-continent (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), South Asia also includes a few other smaller countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. These eight South Asian countries, with 5.1 million square kilometres of landmass, compriseonly 3.4%of the world’s surface. However, with a combined population of 1.75 billion, South Asia houses more than 23% of the global population. Except Bangladesh, the basic health indicators in the South Asian countries are not impressive. It should be noted that Bangladesh has made impressive gains in recent decades in this regard. The paper examines the pattern of health expenditure as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as health expenditure per capita to better understand and explain the poor overall health indicators. In South Asian countries, the government expenditure as a percentage of the total health expenditure is also substantially lower than in many other developing countries. This may help explain, partially at least, the continuing inequity in health in these countries.