M. Venkaiah Naidu

Addressing the 8th Annual Summit of the NATHEALTH the Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu highlighted the necessity to rebuild, restructure and reinvent our healthcare systems for the post-pandemic era of the 21st century. He wanted all stakeholders—public, private, and people to unite together in this massive task of supporting and strengthening India’s health infrastructure and assuring the well-being of the people.

He stated, over the span of the pandemic, we have learned many valuable lessons correlated to the challenges in our healthcare system and summoned for using this experience towards re-imagining a resilient healthcare system for a new phase in the post-COVID era.

Acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the healthcare systems world over, the Vice President said that India, as a team, fought back admirably and exhibited great strength in the face of adversity. He added, “This is reflected in the indigenous development of vaccines and administration of over 180 crore doses, which is a stupendous achievement and a global benchmark.”

Shri Naidu even praised the dedication and sacrifices of Indian healthcare workers- both in the public and private sectors. Documenting the pressing need to expand public expenditure on health, the Vice President wanted this boost in spending to go hand-in-hand with capacity building, such as expanding the doctor-to-population ratio, as per WHO standards.

Shri Naidu emphasized the need of bridging the spatial disparity in healthcare facilities between the urban and rural areas, for an immediate impetus to primary healthcare in rural India. Further speaking about the need to bring down high out-of-pocket expenses on health in India, he relished various government programs in this regard including Ayushman Bharat, Jan Aushadhi Kendras, and the suggestion to raise the number of district hospitals among others.

The Vice President also spoke that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the potential of using digital technologies and proposed leveraging our strengths in ICT for improving healthcare. He stated, “Digital health and Telehealth services must be expanded to remote rural areas to ensure equitable access to quality healthcare.”

Shri Naidu also summoned greater focus on curbing the worrying trend of increasing Non-Communicable Diseases in India, which account for around 60 percent of deaths in the country. Emphasizing the need to create greater awareness among people on these ‘lifestyle diseases’, he advised health experts and cultural icons to take the lead in this regard.

The Vice President even congratulated NATHEALTH for bringing together key stakeholders onto one platform to examine the critical topic of public health and expressed his best wishes to the organizers, participants, and the members of the Healthcare Federation of India for their sterling efforts.

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