Elsevier, the world’s leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, on February 03, 2016 hosted a seminar in New Delhi on the ‘State of healthcare reforms in India’ in the presence of policy makers, business leaders and academicians of our healthcare system to address this matter. The day also witnessed a book release, ‘Healthcare reforms in India: Making up for the lost decades’ by Mr Rajendra Pratap Gupta.
In his keynote address, Terig Hughes, MD, Elsevier (the Publisher) said “India has made noteworthy progress towards achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals. It has already achieved the target for reducing poverty by half and achieved gender parity in primary school enrolment. The control of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and polio has been a major success for India. Although Maternal and Child Health targets were not fully achieved, India reduced its maternal mortality rate to 140 per 100,000 live births, under-five mortality rate to 40 per 1000 live births and infant mortality to 39 per 1000 live births by the end of 2015.
“As we now start adopting a new set of transformative and universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there will be further impetus to the achievements made by virtue of the Millennium Development Goals. This will further be made possible with the remarkable convergence of vision underlying the priorities for the proposed 17 SDGs and those of the new Government in India,” he added.
With the growing focus on government’s Digital India initiative and the creation of massive digital infrastructure, widespread outreach support to rural health workers, especially to the new types of community health workers, like the Multipurpose Primary Healthcare Worker (MPHW), Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), has now become possible. Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) technology for physician as well as non-physician healthcare workers has proven to be effective and should be adopted at public as well as private healthcare institutions. With a growing investment in health information technology, especially m-Health, the possibilities have increased manifold. Telemedicine is bridging the rural–urban health divide, and probably the cheapest, as well as the fastest way.
The government recently launched the Social Endeavour for Health and Telemedicine (SEHAT) initiative that aims to connect the largest population of our country on a network of 60,000 Common Service Centers to avail tele-health services. It is imperative that such initiatives be sustained and further improved as technology advances.