VP calls for National movement against NCDs

Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu addressing the gathering after inaugurating the MGM Healthcare Super Specialty Hospital, in Chennai on Sunday.
Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu addressing the gathering after inaugurating the MGM Healthcare Super Specialty Hospital, in Chennai on Sunday.

CHENNAI, July 14: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said a National movement against the growing incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) needs to be launched. Inaugurating a new 400-bedded hospital MGM Health Care here, he said 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.
With non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart attacks accounting for huge spending by households, this problem could 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, he said.
“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 NCDs”, he said.
Mr Naidu said according to WHO data released in 2017, about 61 per cent of deaths in India were attributed to NCDs including heart disorders, cancer and diabetes.
Stressing the need for establishing NCD clinics in both urban and rural areas, he said the private sector must play a prominent role in setting up such clinics.
He also called 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. Mr Naidu said though, the health outcomes have vastly improved with the availability of modern methods of treatment and better healthcare facilities, the country was 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, he added.
Despite the improved reach of healthcare delivery, the rural areas were lagging behind their urban counterparts and there was a huge disparity in the healthcare services provided between urban and rural areas, Mr Naidu said.
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, he said and called upon the private sector to complement the efforts of the Government in reaching modern healthcare facilities to the rural areas.
Noting that a major area of concern was shortage of qualified doctors and trained para-medical personnel in the country, the Vice President said it has been estimated that India was 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”, he said.
Mr Naidu suggested that Public Private Partnership could be the model to bridge the gap in providing technically advanced primary and secondary healthcare centres.
He said making available advanced treatment at affordable cost to all sections was 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 the out-of-pocket expenses and high treatment costs”, he said. Stating that the country faces the challenge of providing health care to 1.35 billion-strong population-one-sixth of humanity, he said “to meet this huge challenge, we need more medical colleges, hospitals and health infrastructure that delivers affordable diagnostic and treatment services to the people.” (UNI)