13th Global Healthcare Summit: VP calls for national movement to combat NCDs

Calling for a national movement against NCDs, the Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has urged the Indian Medical Association to take the lead in promoting awareness, particularly among the students, for adopting healthy lifestyles

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The Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu addressing the gathering at the 13th Global Healthcare Summit 2019, organised by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), in Hyderabad on July 21, 2019.

Hyderabad: The Vice President of India, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu has urged doctors belonging to the Indian diaspora to give back to the society by adopting their native villages and strengthening Primary Health Centres (PHCs).

Inaugurating the 13th Global Healthcare Summit organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO), in Hyderabad, Mr Naidu advised the doctors to take active interest in the functioning of PHCs in their villages and help to improve them.

Pointing out that nearly 86 per cent of all the medical visits in India are made by people living in rural areas with majority required to travel long distances, the Vice President called for paying greater attention to PHCs, which play a pivotal role in building a robust low cost healthcare system.

Expressing his concern over the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which accounted for 61.08 per cent of all deaths in the country in 2016, Mr Naidu asked the medical fraternity to adopt the concept of ‘Medical Social Responsibility’ on the lines of CSR and appealed to doctors to visit schools once every week and counsel the children on the dangers posed by lifestyle diseases and unhealthy dietary habits.

Calling for a national movement against NCDs, the Vice President urged the Indian Medical Association to take the lead in promoting awareness, particularly among the students, for adopting healthy lifestyles.

The Vice President also wanted organizations like AAPI to collaborate with the government in conducting massive screening programs and share their expertise in combating NCDs.

Stressing the need to establish NCD clinics in both urban and rural areas, Mr Naidu urged the private sector to play a prominent role in setting up such clinics.

The Vice President opined that inadequate public spend, low doctor-patient ratio, high share of out-of-pocket expenditure, inadequate infrastructure in rural areas were the main problems surrounding healthcare in India.

Expressing his concern over the huge shortage of qualified medical practitioners in India, Mr Naidu called for bridging the gap by opening more medical colleges and increasing the number of seats at both graduate and Post-graduate levels.

Referring to the report of McKinsey Global Institute which has estimated that the implementation of telemedicine technology could save $4-5 billion every year and replace half of in-person outpatient consultations in India, he wanted organizations like AAPI and GAPIO to help remote hospitals in India to acquire latest telemedicine equipment.

The Vice President said there was also a need to organize massive awareness drives to sensitize people on the practices to be adopted for disease prevention. “We must move away from a treatment approach to a wellness based approach, a goal that has been clearly enunciated in the National Health Policy, 2017”,e added.

Mr Naidu urged bodies like AAPI to offer their expertise in the creation of a robust nationwide emergency medical service as also in devising an effective strategy to combat antibiotic resistance in the country.

Dr Suresh Reddy, President of AAPI, Dr Pratap C Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Hospitals and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.