VP Naidu calls for addressing shortage of doctors, paramedical workers
VP Naidu stressed that the first step to achieving the goal of ''Health for All'' is to increase public spending on health.
New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday called for addressing the shortage of trained human resources in the health sector on a war footing.Naidu made the remarks while addressing the convocation of the University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS).Noting the low doctor to population ratio at 1:1,511 in India against the WHO norm of 1:1,000, he stressed the need for creating...
New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday called for addressing the shortage of trained human resources in the health sector on a war footing.
Naidu made the remarks while addressing the convocation of the University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS).
Noting the low doctor to population ratio at 1:1,511 in India against the WHO norm of 1:1,000, he stressed the need for creating more medical colleges in line with the government's intention of setting up one medical college and hospital in every district of the country.
Referring to the paucity of paramedical staff in the country, Naidu called for improving the nurse to population ratio (1:670 in India, compared to the WHO norm of 1:300) on a mission mode. On the shortage of trained manpower in rural areas, he suggested creating better incentives and infrastructure to attract healthcare workers to serve in villages.
While noting the improvement in different health indicators since independence, he said that there were many challenges that require a coordinated and concerted approach by both the government and the private sector.
He stressed that the first step to achieving the goal of ''Health for All'' is to increase public spending on health.
He referred to the 15th Finance Commission recommendations, which said that states should increase spending on health to more than eight per cent of their respective budgets by 2022 and the public health expenditure of the Centre and States together should be increased in a progressive manner to reach 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2025.
Emphasising on the need to attract more doctors to rural areas, Naidu said state-of-the-art hospitals should be set up and good incentives and housing facilities should be provided to the medical community.
He observed that medical advice or consultation should be accessible and affordable for the common people.
Lauding the "critical role" of paramedical personnel in healthcare, he said the importance of the service they render came to the fore during the pandemic as they worked tirelessly over the past year.
He observed that Indian nurses and paramedical staff have earned a great reputation and demand globally over the years with their skills, dedication and caring nature.
"The need of the hour is to leverage the innate skill among our youth to train more allied health workers and assign a larger role for them in our public health," he added.
Referring to the recommendation of the 15th Finance Commission for allocating more than Rs 13,000 crore to train allied health workers, he said it is expected to create an additional 15 lakh workforce.
Speaking on innovation in health care, he said that e-health has come up in a big way in recent years and holds promise to mitigate the problem of paucity of doctors in rural areas.
"With increasing internet and smartphone penetration in rural areas, e-health is the way forward for the optimum use of our human resources in healthcare," he said.
Naidu added that e-health can also empower women and bring about much-needed awareness on maternal health and other issues.
Noting various e-health initiatives of the Health Ministry, the vice president stressed the need to further popularise and scale them. "While India is going through a digital revolution, we must capitalise on it and bring about a revolution in healthcare," Naidu stressed.
Underlining the benefits of "digitised health records", he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to launch the Pradhan Mantri Digital Health Mission in a few days.
"It will eliminate paperwork, bring about a seamless experience in hospitals and help in monitoring diseases," he added.
Expressing his concern over the high out-of-pocket expenditure for health, he said such health expenses have adverse impact on low-income households that face the risk of being pushed into poverty.
He said the government's flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme has brought health assurance to many poor families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation and has covered more than two crore hospitalisations so far.
The vice president saluted frontline workers for their contribution in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
"The formidable fight India has put up against the pandemic is a testimony to the resilience of our people in general and the selfless service rendered by all the doctors, healthcare personnel and other frontline workers in particular," he said.
He called for vaccination of all eligible people at the earliest and exhorted civic groups to join hands with the local governments in encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
"People must follow Covid protocols with utmost seriousness. We cannot be complacent and invite a third wave," he added.
Referring to the practice of wearing robes by the faculty and others during convocation ceremonies, Naidu wanted it to be discontinued and suggested the wearing of simple, Indian attire on such occasions. In this context, he also called for Indianising the education system.