Karnataka

‘Medical achievement significant but more needs to be done’

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu giving away medals and certificates to graduates at the 10th convocation of JSS Academy of Higher Learning and Research in Mysuru on Saturday. Suttur seer Shivaratri Deshikendra Swami is also present.

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu giving away medals and certificates to graduates at the 10th convocation of JSS Academy of Higher Learning and Research in Mysuru on Saturday. Suttur seer Shivaratri Deshikendra Swami is also present.  

Venkaiah Naidu delivers convocation address at JSS AHER

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Saturday that India has achieved significant progress since Independence on various health indicators. He was delivering the 10th convocation address of the JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research in the city.

Mr. Naidu said that with successive governments according high priority to health and well-being of the people, the average life expectancy had increased to 69 years and India’s disease burden caused by communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases has dropped from 61% to 33% between 1990 and 2016.

He said these are noteworthy improvements in health indicators relating to infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR) due to increasing penetration of healthcare services across the country, extensive health campaigns, sanitation drives, increase in the number of government and private hospitals in India, improved immunisation and growing literacy.

Competitive advantages

The Vice-President pointed out that India’s health sector has a number of competitive advantages and referred to the large pool of well-trained medical professionals; a flourishing pharmaceutical industry which, he said, excels in generic drug manufacturing; and cost-effective and quality medical procedures.

Also, the cost of surgery in India is substantially less when compared to the same in the U.S. or Western Europe, which makes India a healthcare destination of choice.

Challenges ahead

However, despite the advancements, there was a long and arduous road ahead as the country continued to grapple with inadequate public spending on health, low doctor-patient ratio, high share of out-of-pocket expenditure, inadequate infrastructure in rural areas, lack of penetration of health insurance and inadequate preventive mechanisms.

The country also faces a huge shortage of qualified medical practitioners, especially specialist doctors. It has been estimated that India is facing a shortage of 6 lakh doctors and 20 lakh nurses. Referring to the National Health Profile 2018, Mr. Naidu said there is just one allopathic government doctor available for around 11,082 people across the country as against the WHO recommended ratio of 1:1000.

Non-communicable diseases

Mr. Naidu expressed concern over the rise in non-communicable diseases and said that a WHO report attributed nearly 61% of deaths in India to non-communicable diseases.

“Studies shows that the contribution of cardiovascular diseases to mortality increased by 34.3% from 1990 to 2016. During the same period, the age-standardised diabetes prevalence rose by 29.7% in India’’, said Mr. Naidu. Citing a Lancet study, he said NCDs are typically present in individuals aged 55 years or older in many developed countries, but their onset occurs in India a decade earlier at about 45 years. This was attributed to genetic predisposition, changing lifestyle and factors like pollution.

In the context of lifestyle, he stressed upon the importance of yoga and said it could bring about an improvement in the health. He added that more and more countries were moving towards it.

The Vice-President also spoke on the role of a traditional diet and its importance. He said food prescribed by our ancestors was time-tested and in accordance with the requirements of geographical regions, climate and seasons.

In all, 1,668 students were eligible to receive various degrees, of which 52 were PhDs and six completed their super specialty courses.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

An earlier version of this article mentioned that the WHO recommended doctor-to-patient ratio is 1:10. The error is regretted.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:04:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/medical-achievement-significant-but-more-needs-to-be-done/article29866890.ece

Next Story