Puducherry: A holistic healthcare system — universally accessible, affordable and effective — is the need of the hour, President Pranab Mukherjee said while speaking at the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), held here on Friday.
According to Mukherjee, the holistic healthcare system calls for a strong healthcare infrastructure, trained and motivated personnel, and access to medicines and modern equipments.
“There are 7 hospital beds per 10,000 population in India, compared to 23 in Brazil, 38 in China and 97 in Russia. There are 7 physicians per 10,000 population in India, compared to 19 in Brazil, 15 in China and 43 in Russia,” he said.
“Though schemes like the National Rural Health Mission have improved service delivery in India, health services are still constrained by its reach and quality. Primary healthcare is critical as it reduces the need for tertiary care,” the President said.
“Public financing for healthcare in India is less than one per cent of the world’s total health expenditure. As Indians are a sixth of humanity, this is woefully meagre. Our expenditure levels have to rise significantly to ensure universal health coverage,” Mukherjee said.
The President said that due to the increasing trend of lifestyle-related diseases, precautionary strategies have become important.
“Prevention of medical conditions calls for proper counselling. Healthy living has to be fostered from a very young age. Seven per cent of the world’s children are obese or over-weight. Obesity in childhood can lead to health complications later. Balanced diet, physical activity and lifestyle management have to be promoted. Special interventions are necessary for newborns as the first four weeks of life, during which 44 per cent of deaths of children below five years occur, are crucial,” he said.
He further said, “Life-saving medicines and procedural expertise have to be available far and wide. Hygiene and sanitation also play an important role in preventing the occurrence or spread of diseases.”
He said he was hopeful that “under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), we would be able to cover every household by total sanitation in the next five years.”
The President stated that health research is essential for the development of medical interventions necessary to maintain good health by the people.
“Development of sound systems of medicine requires translation of knowledge gained in other disciplines. It has been demonstrated how knowledge from aviation, automation and robotics can be used for optimizing healthcare. Medical research has to be, therefore, a culmination of multi-disciplinary effort comprising varied fields like medical electronics, systems biology, bio-technology, genomics, mathematical simulation and information and communication,” he said.
He called upon JIPMER to aim to enrich its research-based publications, go for patent filings, and develop models addressing common health problems by integrating Indian Systems of Medicine.