Make treatment accessible, affordable to commoner: Naidu to medical pros

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NEW DELHI: Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu has called upon the medical fraternity to launch India-wide awareness campaign on the health hazards posed by modern lifestyle in view of the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating GEM Hospital, in Chennai on Monday, he urged doctors to visit universities and colleges to create greater awareness among students on the need for regular physical activity, eating healthy food and avoiding consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
Quoting the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2016 report that showed that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries were the main cause of death among people of all age groups in India, Naidu said that it was incumbent upon the medical fraternity to launch a India-wide campaign to create greater awareness on the health hazards of modern-day lifestyles.
Expressing concern over the rising cost of healthcare services, he urged the private sector to make medical treatment accessible and affordable to the common man and added that “there have been instances in which families have been driven to penury or burdened by debts because of the high costs of treatment”.
Naidu said that despite the efforts of governments in states and centre, healthcare faces formidable challenges in terms of low public spend, low doctor-patient ratio, low patient-bed ratio, rising out-of-pocket expenditure, dearth of medical colleges and trained doctors, inadequate infrastructure in rural areas.
He said such challenges cannot be met by governments alone and called upon the private sector to focus more on improving health infrastructure in rural areas. “The rural-urban disparity in healthcare and insurance is adding to the financial burden of the people,” he added.
The vice president said that every citizen has the right to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health and called for coordinated efforts of all the stake holders including doctors, researchers, government and private organisations to act in unison (to) give the citizens access to efficient and affordable healthcare.
He said that Public Private Partnership could be the model to bridge the gap by providing technically advanced primary and secondary healthcare centres that act as the first response units to combat diseases or general ill health.
Expressing concern that doctors were not spending the required time with the patients unlike in the past when the family physician used to do, the vice president urged doctors to provide comfort to those who come to them in times of distress. “You must always treat patients with empathy and provide them the much-needed human touch and healing touch,” he added.