The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has stressed the need to provide affordable medical facilities to people living in rural areas. He also asked medical colleges to encourage students to visit rural areas and understand the healthcare requirements of poor and downtrodden.Addressing the Diamond Jubilee of Rangaraya Medical College and Golden Jubilee of its Old Students Association, in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh today, Shri Naidu advocated that a doctor in the government service must mandatorily serve in rural areas before getting his/her first promotion.The Vice President said that the Governments draw up policies and programs to improve healthcare. But it is the doctors at the grass-root level who play a key role in making them successful, he added.The Vice President asked the young doctors to be sensitive to patients and their family. He said an important complement such as bonding and personal touch was missing in today’s treatment due to work pressure, increased reliance on investigations and commercialization of the profession. He advised doctors to spend more time and establish personal bond with the patient and his/her relatives and said that doctor’s gentle touch and kind words could soothe the frayed nerves of a nervous patient and produce a calming effect.The Vice President called up on the private sector to work with a spirit of altruism, commitment and missionary zeal in providing modern and affordable healthcare facilities in the rural areas.United efforts of government, private sector would take quality healthcare to remote and help us bridge the urban-rural divide, he added.Saying that India had made significant improvements in providing basic and advanced health care since independence, Shri Naidu opined that much needed to be done to improve life expectancy, reduce maternal and infant mortality rates and improve quality of life.Expressing concern over the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases, he said that India was witnessing a double burden of diseases-infectious ailments as well as an increased incidence in life style diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and cancers. It is estimated that 62 per cent deaths among men and 52 per cent among women are due to non-communicable diseases.
Shri Naidu said that the flagship initiative of ‘Ayushman Bharat’ that provides insurance coverage and comprehensive, need-based healthcare through 1,50,000 health and wellness centres to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families would address problems faced by people like huge out-of-pocket expenditure and accessing modern healthcare facilities.The Vice President also called up on various medical associations to take up a campaign to educate people on the measures to be adopted for preventing lifestyle diseases. Quoting a paper published in ‘The Lancet Global Health’, he said that cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, and diabetes kill around 4 million Indians annually (as in 2016), and most of these deaths were premature, occurring among Indians aged 30–70 years.Shri Naidu had advised people to shun sedentary life style and called for a concerted action from government, doctors, public health experts, policymakers and healthcare planners to reverse the trend and prevent the growing incidence of lifestyle diseases.Shri Naidu asked Medical Associations, Hospitals and authorities to see that the doctor patient ratio is maintained. He also stressed up on the need to employ skilled medical specialists and affordable treatment facilities as compared to many developed countries in Indian hospitals keeping in medical tourism in mind.The Vice President urged Medical Council and affiliated organizations to bring in high standards in medical education across the country and increase medical and laboratory infrastructure at institutions.The Deputy Chief Minister and the Minister for Home & Disaster Management, Andhra Pradesh, Shri N. Chinarajappa, the Member of Parliament, Dr. K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, the Member of Legislative Assembly, Dr. Kamineni Srinivas, the Vice President & President (Elect), AAPI, Dr. Jonnalagadda Sudhakar, the President, RAMCOSA, Dr. G. Seshagiri Rao, the Organising Chairman, Dr. Ganni Bhaskar Rao, the Secretary, RAMCOSA, Dr. M.V.V. Anand, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. NTR University of Health, Andhra Pradesh, Dr. C.V. Rao, the President, RMCANA, Dr. Venkata Subbaraya Chowdary, the Principal, Rangaraya Medical College, Dr. R. Mahalakshmi and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.