President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday said India has a long way to go in evolving a holistic healthcare system, which is uniformly affordable and accessible to citizens both in rural and urban areas.The President inaugurated the Centre for Sickle Cell Anaemia, Thalassemia and other genetic blood disorders at Prathima Institute of Medical Sciences here.He called for giving priority to strengthening public, municipal and charitable hospitals and primary health and wellness clinics. He also underlined the need to spread awareness on healthcare issues especially in rural areas and amongst disadvantaged sections of the society."This will be useful for managing and mitigating genetic blood disorders, which are particularly prevalent in tribal communities," he said.He noted that India is amongst the nations with the highest number of patients suffering from Sickle Cell Anaemia, Thalassemia and other genetic blood disorders. India has the largest number of children with Thalassemia major in the world.
"While around 1,50,000 children have Thalassemia major, there are millions of carriers who have the genetic trait for Thalassemia major."Describing haemoglobinopathies as a major health problem, Kovind said that it places an emotional, psychological and economic burden on many families.He said creating awareness among the target groups and their timely counselling is an important step towards addressing the problem.Kovind said healthcare professionals, both from the private and public sector hospitals, have to work closely with voluntary organisations and NGOs to combat these diseases effectively.Referring to the Ayushman Bharat initiative, he said it aims to ensure that nobody is deprived of healthcare due to lack of financial resources. Under Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana launched three months ago, so far over 6 lakh persons needing secondary or tertiary care have been admitted to hospitals across the country and an amount of Rs 800 crore has been authorised for their treatment. He said Ayushman Bharat can help fulfil our dream of "Swasthya Bharat Sabal Bharat".