New Delhi, Oct 16 (ANI): Asserting that the foundation of India's national health system must be a strong, sensitive and efficient public health system, President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday called for universal medicare for poor people in the country.
Addressing the 40th annual convocation ceremony of All India Institute of Medical Sciences here, Mukherjee said: "Time has come for India to aim at attaining Universal Health Coverage in the next 2 to 3 Plan periods. It is possible today to leverage reasonable amount of resources to make bold and sustained investment in health."
"Provision of universal health care is a matter of faith for the Government. For this, the public health system must be greatly expanded and strengthened across the Nation. We need many more nurses, doctors, paramedics and health workers. We need to decentralize planning and implementation of healthcare to the district and sub-district levels. We need to take health services closer to the homes of the families-even a primary health centre is too far by today's standard and need," he said
"We need out of the box managerial and administrative reforms in the health departments at the state and central level. We need public health professionals to spearhead public health programs. We need to develop effective models of healthcare for the ever-increasing urban population," he added.
Stating that health is among the topmost priorities of the Government, President Mukherjee said: "I am deeply concerned about the impoverishing impact of health and medical expenses on the vulnerable sections of our society. It is unacceptable that almost 80 percent of the expenditure on healthcare by our people is met by personal, out of pocket, payment.
"I am shocked to note that as many as 4 crore people of our country plunge into poverty each year due to expenses on medical treatment. Yet, we should remember that the health services for the poor cannot be poor health services. We need to craft a high quality national health system that is used by the poor and the rich alike," he added.
He further called upon all stakeholders to join hands to build a solid consensus for a historic transformation of India's health sector in the coming years.
President Mukherjee also urged doctors to work hard to make AIIMS amongst the top ten medicare institutions in the world.
"The convocation marks the fruition of your hard work and your transition from students to professionals, from scholars to scientists. You now don the mantle of disseminators of the knowledge and skills acquired at the institute from your teachers and mentors. While you must rejoice and celebrate your achievements, you must also realize the enormity of responsibility that has been placed upon you," he said.
"The baton of knowledge and skills, that you have received and the values you have imbibed must be carried with the same spirit and zeal as has been done by your teachers. This has to be a lifelong commitment and this is the only 'gurudakshina' your teachers, mentors and your Alma Mater would perhaps expect from you," he added. (ANI)