Pvt sector must join hands with govt to take latest treatment facilities to rural areas: Vice Prez

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New Delhi, Dec 20 (PTI) Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday expressed concern over the lack of modern health care facilities in most villages and urged the private sector to join hands with the government in taking the latest diagnostic and treatment facilities to rural areas at an affordable cost.

Naidu also flagged the issue of doctor-patient ratio in India, which, he said, was lower than the World Health Organisation (WHO) norm of one doctor for 1,000 people.

The issue needs to be addressed urgently and the private sector must complement the efforts of the government in providing affordable medical education, he said.

With a majority of people meeting the medical costs through out-of-pocket expenses, the vice-president said, there is a huge need to step up insurance coverage, an official statement said.

Launching the Society of Coronary Surgeons in Hyderabad online, Naidu urged people to regularly practice yoga and meditation and return to traditional Indian food habits to beat the stress caused by modern lifestyle and prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Quoting the WHO, Naidu said NCDs encompass a vast group of illnesses such as cardiovascular, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and diabetes and contribute to around 41 million (71 per cent) of all deaths globally and about 5.87 million (60 per cent) of all deaths in India.

Observing that the rise of NCDs was mainly due to lifestyle changes such as sedentary jobs, unhealthy and irregular dietary habits, high stress, smoking and tobacco chewing, he said that almost three quarters of all NCD deaths, and 82 per cent of the 16 million people who died prematurely or before reaching 70 years of age, occur in low and middle-income countries.

The vice president lauded Ayushman Bharat, a flagship programme of the central government, as a truly praiseworthy initiative that seeks to provide health cover of Rs five lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation to over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families.

He said that India had made huge progress in the medical field in the past few decades and that the country has emerged as a medical tourism destination in recent years.

In the past, patients from India used to go abroad for treatment. 'But patients from different countries, including developed ones, are coming to India for affordable and quality healthcare,' Naidu observed.

He said that India also has emerged as a world class player in the delivery of heart care with the second largest number of CABG (coronary artery bypass graft) surgeries being done in this country.

'Our capabilities in healthcare were also clearly established during this COVID-19 pandemic and the number of casualties was much lower when compared to some of the advanced countries in the world”, he pointed out.

Commending the selfless and remarkable service being rendered by the medical, paramedical and other healthcare personnel ever since the pandemic broke out, he expressed happiness that an indigenous vaccine would be launched soon. PTI NAB ANB ANB