April 2015

Keeping the Flame Alive!

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Dr Jagdish Prasad,Director General, Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India

Dr Jagdish Prasad,
Director General, Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India

The corporates should wake up. They must build infrastructure for poor people and contribute atleast 15 percent of their benefit to them, tells Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General, Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to Elets News Network.

As we have less number of doctors, the Government of India has lots of things to do. We have eight lakhs ayurvedic doctors who are well qualified. Doctors are concentrating on cities and not on rural areas, the reason being no proper infrastructure.

We are producing nearly 54,000 doctors every year. At the same time, we are producing ayurvedic doctors, who are half the number, and whom the government is utilising. Since years, we have been fighting many diseases such as cholera, leprosy, etc. However, with the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) being started in 2005, the focus has been shifted and the concentration is on reproductory and child health. With this programme, the infant mortality rate has come down. More than 5000 ambulances have been provided just to carry out the patients from the village to the place where delivery can be done. The working of these ambulances can be witnessed in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal. It is working well in both the northern and the southern states.

We have nine lakh Ashas at the moment, who are working at the village level. They have been provided with the facilities for immunisation, and maternity check up for women.

We are now trying to concentrate on the secondary care of the hospital. The Government of India has given nearly `200 crore for 58 districts wherever the district hospitals are there. Recently, the Health Ministry has put up the health portal system, which anybody can visit, see and get the information.

There is a great use of electronic media in healthcare because at the moment, we are the largest country with 1.2 billion population and in 2025, it is going to be 1.4 billion. Thus, the cost of the business of healthcare will be growing up. At present, 70 percent revenue comes from the private sector and 30 percent from the government setups. However, the government has to spend more money in the public health sector.

Another project by the Government of India is to make 20 cancer hospitals and 50 hospitals, which will be having a nucleus of the cancer treatment.

Diabeties and Hypertension are tremendously high in the country.

About 50 hospitals for cancer nucleus treatment require an amount of `50 crore. We observed that the non communicable diseases are causing more problems than the communicable ones because 53 to 58 percent people are dying with non communicable diseases.

India is the first country in the whole world, which will be having a cardiac ICU in each of its state. We are providing funds to the states for the same. At present, the public health sector is in a very bad state.

Non-public health sector is drastic. Thus, the government has decided to open institutes like AIIMS in other states too. One of the programmmes started by the Government of India is Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), under which the government is paying up to `120 crore to every medical college that can upgrade their speciality to treat the tertiary care patients in their medical college. Equipment and building constructions are included in it. So far, we have covered 38 colleges in the country and we are planning to cover more. The politicians who are heading the states need to concentrate on the healthcare because health is a totally neglected subject.

In few villages too, e-health has started. 800 villages have been taken in UP and Bihar recently. Sitting in Delhi, doctors are treating the patients in villages. There are people who ask the patients history and they then communicate with the doctor. Integrated Digi Surveillance Programme is one of the important parameters in the e-health domain.

Although we have lots of obstacles in our way, but both the public and the private sectors have to join hands to achieve the best in healthcare. Not only the government, but everyone has to take the responsibility, the corporate sector too.

The corporates should wake up. They must build infrastructure for poor people and contribute atleast 15 percent of their benefit to the poor people.

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