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Adopt schools and counsel students on preventive healthcare, Vice President tells private hospitals

Calls for a national movement against the growing incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases; 

Wants doctors, actors and media to adopt professional social responsibility; 

Inaugurates MGM Healthcare, a 400-bedded Super Specialty Hospital in Chennai

The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu addressing the gathering after inaugurating the MGM Healthcare Super Specialty Hospital, in Chennai on July 14, 2019.

open view news desk

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called upon  private hospitals, medical colleges, nursing institutions and people in medical fraternity to adopt schools in their respective neighborhoods and counsel the students on preventive healthcare.

Referring to the growing incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), including cancer, heart disorders and diabetes, Shri Naidu pointed out that modern lifestyle changes were aggravating NCDS. He wanted the medical fraternity, including the private hospitals and other institutions, to reach out to schools and colleges and create awareness among the students on the dangers of lifestyle diseases.

Inaugurating MGM Healthcare in Chennai today, the Vice President urged doctors, actors and media houses to adopt professional social responsibility on the lines of corporate social responsibility to create awareness among people, particularly the youth, on the need to avoid physical inactivity and unhealthy dietary habits.

Shri Naidu called for launching a national movement against the growing incidence of NCDs. Quoting World Health Organization’s data released in 2017, Shri Naidu observed that about 61 per cent of deaths in India were attributed to NCDs, including heart disorders, cancer and diabetes. He also wanted the Indian Medical Association to take the lead in promoting awareness among the people, particularly school and college students.

Shri Naidu said that there was an urgent need to establish NCD clinics in both urban and rural areas and the private sector must play a prominent role in setting up such clinics.

Pointing out that despite the improved reach of healthcare delivery, he said there was a huge disparity in the healthcare services provided between urban and rural areas, the Vice President called upon the private sector and hospitals like MGM Healthcare to step in and complement the efforts of the government in reaching modern healthcare facilities to the rural areas, including the remote places.

The Vice President said that the Aayushman Bharath scheme launched by the government was a step in the right direction as it provides comprehensive insurance coverage to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families and seeks to establish 150,000 health and wellness centres across India.

Expressing concern over the shortage of around 600,000 doctors and two million nurses, he wanted both the private and the public sector to join hands to remedy the situation and also suggested the setting up of more medical colleges, hospitals and health infrastructure that can deliver affordable diagnostic and treatment services to the people.

Shri Naidu also called for adopting the Public Private Partnership model to bridge the gap in providing technically advanced primary and secondary healthcare centers, especially in rural areas.

The Governor of Tamil Nadu, Shri Banwarilal Purohit, the Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri O. Panneerselvam, the Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu, Dr. C. Vijaya Baskar, the Minister for Fisheries, Shri D. Jayakumar, the Managing Director, MGM Healthcare, Shri M.K. Rajagopalan, the CEO, MGM Healthcare, Dr. Rahul Menon, the Director, MGM Healthcare, Dr. Prasanth Rajagopalan and other dignitaries were present.

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

“I am delighted to be here this morning to participate in the inauguration of this hospital.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”  This profound statement is applicable not only to individuals but to the society and nation at large. A similar saying in Telugu says “ Aarogyame Mahaabhagyam”.

Dear sisters & brothers,

As we all are aware, India has achieved significant progress since Independence on various health indicators. With successive governments according high priority to health and the wellbeing of the people, the average life expectancy has increased to 69 years and many infectious diseases have also been successfully eliminated.

Although, the health outcomes have vastly improved with the availability of modern methods of treatment and better healthcare facilities, the country is still facing many formidable challenges on this front. They include inadequate public spend, low doctor-patient ratio, high share of out-of-pocket expenditure, inadequate infrastructure in rural areas, lack of penetration of health insurance and inadequate  preventive mechanisms.

Despite the improved reach of healthcare delivery, the rural areas are lagging behind their urban counterparts and there is a huge disparity in the healthcare services provided between urban and rural areas. This glaring gap between the urban and rural areas has to end and it is time for the private sector to expand its footprint to the villages and remote rural areas.

The private sector needs to complement the efforts of the government in reaching modern healthcare facilities to the rural areas.

A major area of concern is shortage of qualified doctors and trained para-medical personnel in the country. It has been estimated that India wa facing a shortage of 600,000 doctors and two million nurses. In addition to this shortage, the smaller towns and rural areas lack adequate facilities. We cannot allow this situation to continue and both the private and the public sector need to join hands to provide quality healthcare at affordable costs.

I feel that Public Private Partnership could be the model to bridge the gap in providing technically advanced primary and secondary healthcare centres.

Making available advanced treatment at affordable cost to all sections is another aspect that needs the attention of all the stakeholders in the health sector. It should be a matter of concern that each year several people are getting pushed into the vicious cycle of debts due to out-of-pocket expenses and high treatment costs.

With non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart attacks accounting for huge spending by households, this problem can be surmounted to a large extent by ensuring Universal Health Coverage where every individual gets quality treatment without facing any financial hardship. This is also essential to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

I am glad that the Union Government has launched Aayushman Bharath to provide comprehensive insurance coverage to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. It also seeks to establish 150,000 health and wellness centres throughout India.

Dear sisters and brothers, India’s need for healthcare has never been more acute. Although, we have made great strides as a nation in reducing infant and maternal mortality rates over the last five decades and in controlling the spread of diseases like HIV and TB,  there is need to make concerted action to stop the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases.

According WHO data released in 2017, about 61 per cent of deaths in India are attributed to non-communicable diseases, including heart disorders, cancer and diabetes.

I feel that there is a need to establish NCD clinics in both urban and rural areas and the private sector must play a prominent role in setting up such clinics. I would also like call upon the doctors in both public and private sectors to visit the nearest schools in their localities and conduct awareness campaigns on the need to maintain healthy lifestyle.

As a matter-of-fact, a national movement against the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases needs to be launched. The Indian Medical Association must take the lead to promote awareness among the people, particularly school and college students, on the health hazards caused by sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy dietary habits.

Dear sisters and brothers, we face the challenge of providing healthcare to 1.35 billion-strong population—one-sixth of humanity. To meet this huge challenge, we need more medical colleges, hospitals and health infrastructure that delivers affordable diagnostic and treatment services to the people.

I am happy to note that almost all of the South Indian states have improved considerably in the NITI Aayog’s “Healthy States, Progressive India” health index 2019 report.

I am aware that hospitals are increasingly investing in the latest technology to enhance the reliability of the diagnosis, improve treatment as well as the outcomes.

Medical tourism in India is successful essentially because of the exceptional quality of doctors and cost effectiveness when compared to developed countries.   

I am told that Chennai attracts a good number of international health tourists, proving that medical tourism is a fast-rising sector in India today. Patients from countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, Oman, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh and Maldives are travelling to Chennai and other cities in India for surgeries and treatment in multi and super-specialty hospitals.

Here is where private sector hospitals like MGM Healthcare have a role to play. When I was informed that this new hospital is a product of the MGM Group, that is already well-known for its excellent medical and educational institutions, I was more than glad to be a part of their new journey. 

On that note, I congratulate Thiru M K Rajagopalan, Dr Prashanth Rajagopalan and the management and staff of MGM Healthcare Pvt Ltd on this new beginning and I sincerely urge you to uphold Article 21 of the Constitution of India, and  provide equal and affordable care to all those who step into your hospital.  

Thank you!”

July 14, 2019

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