Lack of data a challenge in healthcare delivery: official

Surveillance reveals neglect in addressing tropical diseases

The biggest challenge for public healthcare perhaps is there is little knowledge about what needs to be done, not to mention the lack of a strong primary healthcare system and surveillance, said Rajeev Sadanandan, Additional Chief Secretary (Health). He was speaking after inaugurating the Amrita International Public Health Conference 2018 on Friday here.

Though Kerala apparently has a strong healthcare infrastructure, the achievements in leprosy and filariasis eradication seem to have buckled in the surprise findings in disease surveillance, which has revealed neglect in addressing the tropical diseases. This has made the State plan a roll-out of a strategy again for going back to the basics in the eradication of the disease, Dr. Sadanandan observed.

Speaking about the theme of the conference ‘From neglect to equity of tropical diseases and non-communicable diseases’, he pointed out how data on non-communicable diseases was missed out in the 1990s.

Much is being done to strengthen primary healthcare with the Ardram project, which envisages bringing up to 60% people back to the public healthcare system, the official said.

Earlier, K. Vijayakumar, head, community medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), and organising chairperson of the conference, said neglect of diseases happened because they were not considered important by the medical community as well as drug manufacturers.

Swami Amritageetanandapuri delivered the benedictory address. Dr. Prem Nair, medical director, AIMS, and Dr. Vishal Marwah, principal, Amrita School of Medicine, spoke.

Govt intervention sought

Government intervention in public healthcare will bring in price control and quality services, said K. Sujata Rao, former Union Health Secretary. She was delivering the Amrita Oration on ‘Universal health coverage in India – challenges and opportunities’ at the Amrita International Public Health Conference 2018. She said public health investment should go up from 1.15% to 2.5% of the GDP.

The implementation of universal health coverage requires negotiations on price and quality. The challenge of universal health coverage is ensuring access to a comprehensive package of primary healthcare services, making available free drugs and diagnostics to all.

Ms. Rao said there was a huge gap in the supply of services. “India has one of the lowest densities of health workforce in the world, including physicians (seven per 10,000 population) and nurses (17.1 per 10,000 population), as against the global average of 13.9 and 28.6 respectively,” she added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Vijayakumar said the country had a triple burden of diseases—the unfinished agenda of infectious diseases; challenge of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and the emergence of new pathogens causing epidemics and pandemics.

The two-day meet is attended by experts from the government, NGOs, global health bodies, and corporate healthcare institutions.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 9:08:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/lack-of-data-a-challenge-in-healthcare-delivery-official/article25407298.ece

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