New Delhi: “Medical Students should be trained to adhere strictly to their code of ethics and they should serve in rural areas at least once before getting their first promotion,” stated the Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu recently while addressing the gathering at the 60th Annual Day Celebrations of the renowned Maulana Azad Medical College, MAMC.
During his address, he took note of the celebrated Maulana Azad Medical College campus; talked about the medical education sector as well focused on the issues existing in the healthcare segment.
The glorious legacy of excellence in medicine is being protected and enriched by the medical fraternity in India, but still, the country is grappling with a number of problems in the health sector.
Highlighting the low doctor-patient ratio the Vice President stated that even though India produces the largest number of medical graduates in the world, data shows that the doctor population ratio in India is extremely inadequate.
“There is a deficiency in the number of para-medical personnel and other healthcare professionals. From the insufficient number of hospital beds to a glaringly deficient primary health care system, we have inadequate healthcare infrastructure,” he said.
Rural Service a must
Saying that there is a need to make it mandatory for doctors in government service to serve in rural areas for getting their first promotion, VP Naidu said, “There is a glaring urban-rural divide in the delivery of healthcare services with rural areas being served often by unqualified and unaccredited medical practitioners as well as qualified doctors prefer to stay in urban areas.”
Speaking on the issue of weak medical education framework he said, “We have to constantly set new benchmarks in quality and affordability of healthcare and encourage Medical Colleges and Universities to keep updating their curricula and teaching methodology. Medical Colleges and Universities must also set aside a portion of their annual budget for Research and Development activities. We must also actively encourage our healthcare practitioners to continually undertake research and exploration.”
“We have to build collaborations with Medical universities of great repute from across the globe and replicate global best practices,” the Vice President added during the occasion at Maulana Azad Medical College.
Diseases are a burden on the country
The Vice President further pointed towards the issue of low expenditure on the healthcare sector which is currently burdening the country.
He said, “India’s burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also called life style diseases is escalating. At the same time, infectious and parasitic diseases still pose substantial challenges to the public health system in India, resulting in a double burden of disease. The change in environment and resistance to drugs, especially antibiotics has led to the evolution of superbugs which threaten global health security. Under such circumstances, we cannot afford to let the status quo continue.”
As a resolution to the same, he said, “We must start by increasing our expenditure on health. The public health expenditure in India is currently at 1.15 per cent of the GDP. The National Health Policy 2017 had recommended increasing the public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of the GDP by 2025,” he stressed. The increased investment must go to primary healthcare, including preventive health action, health literacy and early detection.
He informed the gathering that the Centre has taken a number of proactive steps to improve the delivery of health services in the country in terms of quality, affordability and access. “20 new super speciality AIIMS like hospitals are being set up and 73 medical colleges are being upgraded with state-of-the-art infrastructure,” he confirmed.
He further stressed the Public-Private Partnership in matters of medical education and healthcare. “The majority of health care in India is obtained not in the public sector but in the private sector. Hence the government and the private sector must constantly engage with each other. We have to focus more on Public-Private Partnership, especially in building infrastructure and promoting research and development,” he stated.
He drew everyone’s attention to Universal Healthcare (UHC) or Universal Health Assurance (UHA). He said that we must focus upon safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the vulnerable sections of our population, the women, the children, the poor and the differently abled.
“There is one aspect of healthcare that is often neglected and trivialized, the aspect of Mental Health Care. Mental wellbeing is crucial and complementary to physical wellbeing, especially in the high-stress environment that we live and work in,” VP Naidu added.
The Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Delhi, Shri Sanjeev Khirwar, the Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General, ICMR, Dr Balram Bhargava, the Director, GIPMER, Dr. Archana Thakur, the Dean, Maulana Azad Medical College, Dr. Sanjay Tyagi and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.