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Healthcare expansion still in progress: Prez
Published on 4 Jul. 2010 11:11 PM IST
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Citing WHO’s grim predictions about medical challenges before the country, President Pratibha Patil today said the expansion of healthcare facilities in India was still a “work in progress”.
Inaugurating the 1,500-bed SevenHills Hospital, billed as the largest private sector health care facility in Asia, Patil said lifestyle-related ailments like diabetes and heart diseases merited a multi-pronged strategy for preventive measures as they impact economic output.
“A comprehensive approach is needed to combat the increasing prevalence of these lifestyle diseases. Our health system must assume the responsibility of not only treating people but also advising and guiding them about how to deal with and prevent some of these medical conditions,” Patil said.
“Regular campaigns should be organised by the government and institutions to create awareness on a wide scale,” she added.
The president pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that India could emerge as the diabetes capital of the world.
There are currently around 42 million diabetics in India and this figure is estimated to almost double and rise to 80 million by 2030, she said.
Besides, the Cardiological Society of India has estimated that the country is likely to have a 100 million heart patients or nearly 60 percent of the world’s total heart patients by 2020.
All this has led WHO to calculate that diabetes and heart disease in India will mean a loss of about $335 billion over the next 10 years, the president said.
Expressing concern at the inadequacies in the health system, especially for the poor and marginalised sections of the society, Patil asked the government, private sector and voluntary organisations to work together to achieve the goal of health for all.
“We are yet to reach our goal of health for all. Access to and affordability of healthcare, especially for the underprivileged and marginalised sections of society, in particular women and children, remain under-accomplished tasks,” she said.
Moreover, the penetration of health services in rural areas is particularly low. Patil underlined the need for the government, the private sector and voluntary organisations to work together for establishing a healthcare system that can cater to the medical requirements of the nation.
She also asked the medical institutions to reach out to the rural areas by holding medical camps with mobile medical units.
Emphasising the role of technology in achieving the goal of health for all, the president said tele-medicine should be used for ensuring better patient care.
“Tele-medicine has been found to be one of the most cost effective ways of serving a large number of patients, some of whom may not have access to conventional primary health facilities,” Patil said.
“Tele-medicine should be employed on a wider scale for knowledge sharing between different hospitals and doctors,” she said.
The president also urged the medical community to evolve a coordinated approach bringing together all streams of medicine - allopathy as well as traditional and alternate therapies.
Built at a cost of nearly Rs.3.5 billion, the hospital has been promoted by eminent medico from Vishakhapatnam, Jitendra Das Maganti. It is situated on a lush green 35-acres campus in the heart of Mumbai suburb Powai in Andheri east.
Promising “affordable” medical facilities, Maganti said 300 beds would be reserved for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) patients who can avail services at rates on par with the civic hospitals.
“In the first phase, 300 beds shall be operational. The remaining 1,200 will be commissioned by the year end,” he said.

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