The Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for bridging the urban-rural disparity in the health infrastructure on a mission mode and appealed to the private sector to try to expand its footprint to semi-urban and rural areas, and provide affordable healthcare to the people. He also suggested to Governments to partner proactively with the private sector to take modern medical facilities to rural areas, particularly the remote regions.Speaking at the foundation laying of the Nirali Multispecialty Hospital, the Vice President said that COVID-19 pandemic taught a valuable lesson on the importance of good health and observed that a good healthcare system can actually stimulate economic development in a region.An efficient and affordable healthcare system can “reduce financial burden on the poor, improve worker productivity, reduce absenteeism in schools, and ultimately, have a strong positive correlation with growth”, he added. Good health is thus ‘an asset to the individual, the community, and society at large’, Shri Naidu underlined.Referring to the tremendous progress achieved by India in health indicators since Independence, the Vice President said there were still significant challenges that demand concerted action. In improving our healthcare system, the private sector, civil society and other organizations must proactively partner with the government, he added.Shri Naidu underlined the need to create greater awareness on mental health issues. In this context, he referred to the WHO estimate of 2019 that 7.5% of Indians were affected by mental health disorders and that the pandemic’s impact on mental health is yet to be estimated fully.
He called for removing the stigma associated with mental health and adopting a holistic approach to address mental health issues. More than anything else, he said, we must show a willingness to talk about mental health.The Vice President also sought to bring attention to the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases. Noting that lifestyle diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease now account for more than 60 percent of the deaths in the country, he underlined the need to create greater awareness among people.He urged the healthcare experts in the public and private sector to take the lead in initiating a campaign on the health hazards caused by sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets.The Vice President stressed the need to adopt a more holistic and comprehensive view of healthcare. In this context, he quoted WHO’s definition saying “health is not only the absence of illnesses; it is also the ability of people to develop to their potential during their entire lives”.He suggested that healthcare implies “an effort to stay ‘happy’— physically, mentally and spiritually.” and in line with this approach, he called upon doctors and hospitals to adopt a more human-centric approach to medical care. “Together, this way, we must strive to mitigate humanity’s suffering and spread happiness”, he said.Before concluding, the Vice President recalled the historic movements of Dandi Salt March and Bardoli Satyagraha, which took place in the region. Noting the global recognition to the Dandi March of 1930, Shri Naidu said it reminded us of the power of Atma Shakti and Atma Nirbharta. He observed that these movements continue to remain as exemplars for movements everywhere in their use of peaceful means to achieve desired goals.Shri Naidu commended the philanthropic efforts of Shri A.M. Naik, L&T Group Chairman in setting up the Healthcare Campus to serve the people of the region.Shri Ishwar Parmar, Hon’ble Minister, Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of Gujarat, Shri C R Patil, Member of Parliament Navsari, Shri Anil Manibhai Naik, Founder, Nirali Medical Memorial Trust, Shri S. N. Subrahmanyan, Managing Director, Larsen & Tubro, Shri Y S Trivedi, Board Member of Nirali Medical Memorial Trust and others participated in the event.