Health care

The European model of universal healthcare, enacted most successfully in Belgium, has come under tremendous strain, which will increase with the greying of Europe’s population. On the other hand,...    (Read More....)

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The European model of universal healthcare, enacted most successfully in Belgium, has come under tremendous strain, which will increase with the greying of Europe’s population. On the other hand, India’s high-quality medical expertise and facilities are increasingly concentrated on serving wealthy Indians and medical tourists from the United States, making healthcare unaffordable to an overwhelming majority of middle class Indians. We propose bringing the European model of universal healthcare to India, enabling middle class Indians and Europeans to access excellent, affordable healthcare. At present our activities in this focus domain are concentrated in Belgium and Karnataka.

In India, the following broad changes can be observed in the health-care ‘system’. Due to the lower standards of living and highly skilled personnel, it makes good economic sense to seek sophisticated health care there at costs much lower than what they are in either America or Europe. As a result, there is an increasing amount of ‘health tourism’ initiated by American private insurance companies. Amongst other things, this is resulting in the creation of elite hospitals in India catering increasingly to native wealthy clients and the American patients.
One hugely negative impact of this development is to be seen in India. Its growing middle class is squeezed between the increasingly unaffordable treatment in elite hospitals and the very low level of health care provided by government hospitals. The growing small nursing clinics and hospitals are woefully inadequate to meet the demands of this huge middle class.

In contrast to America, there is the European model of universal health care which is under severe budgetary pressure from the current economic and budgetary crisis. The financial need of Europe dictates a reduction in state subsidies for its health care system; the increasingly older population, by contrast, is exerting a greater pressure to increase the outlay on its health-care system.

The solution is obvious: we help introduce the European model of universal health care system in India (beginning with one region, namely Karnataka), which also caters for the European citisens. Implementing this solution can only be the result of the collaborative effort of multiple actors and organizations: from governments through insurance companies to hospitals and medical colleges in both parts of the globe. However enormous this task might be, this enormity is the challenge that the India Platform wants to address itself to in the course of the next 3 years. It intends to meet this challenge by developing consortia of hospitals, medical colleges and insurance companies in both India and Belgium (to begin with).

Challenges Opportunities
  • Financial pressure on the European health care systems
    • increase in expensive treatments for patients
    • limited investments in sophisticated equipment for clinical interventions and research
  • Shortage of highly specialised doctors and nursing personnel
  • Medical technology: saturation of the market
  • Increasing realization of the back-draw of medical tourism
  • Openness to explore solutions for the greying of the population
  • Absence of universal health care system
  • Absence of research culture in medical academia
  • International experience is discounted


  • Huge interest in developing a universal health care system
  • Excellence in some domains of medical expertise
  • Drive and agility to find affordable solutions
  • Critical mass of patients and pathologies

In the coming year the India Platform will continue to facilitate and coordinate the collaborations both in India and Europe. Below you will find an overview of the publications in this focus domain.

Four focus domains of the India Platform A concept note for the India Platform focus groups

India Platform Vision Note


Europe and India, or, India and Europe, both have rich academic and intellectual traditions. Importantly, these traditions have organic roots within their respective societies. Ever dynamic, these traditions evolve. In the case of...

Publication Category:Notes, Notes and publications Concerning policy and vision about India-Europe relations
Publication Date/Year:2008
Focus Domain:Health care, Social sciences and humanities, Higher Education

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