Chennai: The Centre is in the process of setting up telemedicine centres in rural areas to allow patients have consultation with specialist doctors, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.
The initiative will help people in making appointments at outpatient departments of hospitals, collect lab reports, share blood availability status in government hospitals that is accessible online, he said.
Naidu said the Centre is also considering setting up a 24×7 national health helpline to provide answers to people’s medical queries but the proposal is yet to be approved.
Addressing the 25th convocation ceremony at Sri Ramachandra University here the Union information and broadcasting minister said India spends about 4.2 per cent of its GDP on healthcare goods and services, compared to about 18 per cent by developed countries.
“Compared to many developed nations it is low. The government’s healthcare expenditure has not been commensurate with the demands. We need to catch up with the global standards,” he said.
On availability of physicians, Naidu said the number of doctors available per 10,000 people is more than 20 in developed countries, whereas in India it is just six.
“The country needs 10.5 lakh doctors but we have only 6.50 lakh physicians. Presently, there is one doctor per 1,700 people in India. However, according to WHO norms it should be is one doctor per 1,000 people. India should also aim at having one doctor for every 1,000 people,” Naidu said.
The Union minister said the NITI Aayog has recommended opening of 187 medical colleges by 2022 to attain this goal.
On the number of women MBBS students taking up post- graduate courses, he said it is comparatively low at 51 per cent.