14 Feb 2020 19:21 IST

A look at issues related to trade in health services

The book, edited by IMI-K Director, focuses on the effects of liberalisation on healthcare

Addressing the challenges and opportunities thrown up by the liberalisation of trade for the provision of health services, a book on “Trade in Health Services in South Asia” has been recently published. Prof Arindam Banik, Director, International Management Institute Kolkata (IMI Kolkata), has edited the book.

The book is an in-depth study focusing on the health service trade. It systematically analyses and identifies the barriers to trade in health services, particularly in the South Asian context. It assesses the potential benefits and economic costs of such barriers in select South Asian economies and looks at the impact of liberalisation and regulatory reforms on economic welfare.

The challenges to the delivery of quality healthcare in the South Asian region are significant, especially in countries with an underdeveloped health infrastructure. The study is aimed at understanding the structure of health services and evaluating them, with the ultimate aim of driving policy changes in these regions. The book also assesses the economic cost of barriers to trade in medicare services in economies such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Low levels of trade

The book broadly addresses issues related to trade in health services and the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services). For example, certain issues mentioned are the low levels of trade in health services, the legal effect of GATS on a country’s health policy, and the likely benefits of liberalisation on national health systems. It elaborates on the role of the government as a health service provider, a financial supporter, a regulator and a promoter.

Prof Banik said: “This book answers questions that will be of great use not only to researchers and policy-makers but also practitioners and NGOs in South Asia.”



Prof Banik completed his Ph.D from Delhi School of Economics. He pursued his post-doctoral research at Manchester Business School and the Department of Economics, University of Cambridge. Over the years, he has been associated with various international organisations such as World Bank, Ficci-New Delhi and International Development Research Centre (IDRC).