President calls for networking of health care facilities

KOCHI SEPT. 26. The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has underscored the need for networking existing health care facilities and expertise to augment and facilitate higher rate of research and development.

He was delivering a convocation address of the National Board of Examinations after giving away gold medals and certificates to the successful students who have completed postgraduate medical education. There were tremendous opportunities for technologists to work for an `Integrated Health for All' in a mission mode, which could be suitably evolved for implementation. The mission might include networking of medical universities, institutions, R&D labs, industries and social organisations in key areas of assistance to the handicapped and the disabled; networked insurance scheme for health care coverage; launching of awareness-cum-prevention programmes to check the growing incidence of TB, cancer and HIV; creating a nationwide cold storage chain for polio and other temperature sensitive vaccines; conducting hospital-linked diploma level courses on medical technology maintenance at the State technical education institutions; establishing an industry- supported system for maintenance and upgradation of medical equipment and producing selective assistive devices like hearing aids and medical consumables like electrodes, catheters and leads, etc, he said.

The President pointed out that there was a need to redesign and transform the health care system. "An action plan can be drawn that may include prime focus areas like prevention, diagnostics and treatment. Prevention will include sanitation, availability of safe drinking water, basic education and nutritional awareness. Diagnostics will include availability of X-ray, Ultrasound and ECG at every PHC and a CT scan and Colour Doppler at every district hospital. Both would be linked to tertiary care hospitals by telemedicine. Tertiary care hospitals will focus on interventional technologies such as angioplasty, brachytherapy, prosthetics, and molecular level management of immune ,endocrine and other systems," he noted.

Mr. Kalam said that the syllabi of MBBS and PG courses had to continuously enrich themselves with the knowledge emerging in the field of molecular, biological sciences and technologies and integrate themselves with psychological and emotional aspects central to the process of healing. Detailing the challenges of medical science, the President pointed out that the interfacing between medical science, electronics, material science, bio-science, bio-technology and engineering has given rise to techniques both investigative and curative and has provided the research worker with numerous tools to apply in the working of various physiological functions right up to molecular levels. Developments in biotechnology and molecular biology have now made it possible not only to design drugs for specific properties, but also to deliver them to the specific sites where they are most required. Newer imaging techniques have now made it possible to obtain real-time images of various organs at a physiological and biological level and hence right treatment was possible.

He wanted doctors to excel in their chosen fields and to serve society at large, particularly the weaker sections, and to emerge as good human beings with faith and conviction for eternal values and a heart for societal care. The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Sushma Swaraj, in her address asked the National Board of Examinations (NBE) to maintain its credibility and not to dilute quality.

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