A healthcare summit organized recently in Guwahati, Assam, has informed that the northeast region requires over eight lakh additional hospital beds.
Participants said the North-East region has potential to be the South-East Asia's healthcare hub. Taking a serious note on that, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) had recently organized a two-day summit called "The North-East Healthcare Summit" in Guwahati.
Over 200 delegates, including doctors from north-eastern states, national and regional speakers and stakeholders representing hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, Medical devices companies and others participated in the deliberations.
The summit was inaugurated by Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mizoram, Lal Thanzara, in presence of Chairman of FICCI NE Advisory Council, Ranjit Barthakur, President PHFI, Dr K. Srinath Reddy, Vice president PHFI, Jayanto Narayan Choudhury, and State Health Ministers from Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Members of Parliaments from north-east states.
Laying major emphasises on making affordable and accessible world class health care available across the region, the summit also highlighted the need for taking a holistic approach to health care, giving equal importance to different alternate and complimentary systems of medicine, the statement said.
During his address Lal Thanzara, hailed organizers for the summit that highlighted key issues in evolving healthcare scenario pertinent to NE India. However, he also lamented that due to lack of financial resources, skilled manpower in health, tough terrains and quality medical colleges, healthcare has taken a back seat in the NE region.
"Poor healthcare services in the north-east and the need to enhance manpower, including setting up of more medical colleges in the region the requirement of the day. There is an urgent need to review the progress of schemes sanctioned by centre or the North-East Council towards the improvement of healthcare services in the region, especially infrastructure, in addition to finding out better ways and means to remove health problems and inaccessibility to quality healthcare especially in rural areas of the region," Lal said.
"At present, only Assam, Tripura and Manipur have been able to set up their own medical colleges, while states like Mizoram, which grapple with cancer, are yet to get any college," Lal added.
The minister also appealed to the attended delegates and organizations in related fields to put aside monetary benefits and work towards the improvement of healthcare services in the region.
Dr K Srinath Reddy, President of PHFI, in his video address said, "North-East is one of the most vibrant regions in India, but its health indicators have unfortunately lagged behind rest of India on many counts. With so much technological and infrastructure advancements, it is time to bring about a rapid improvement in the public health indicators, especially in light of the renewed commitment by the central government towards speedy achievement of universal health coverage in the entire north-east region."
Further, he also appealed to all the stakeholders like policymakers, industrialists, health practitioners to come with a forward looking plan to improve the health scenario in the region, and become a major healthcare hub for entire South-East Asia.
Heighted in the statement, the two-day summit discussed on various problems in the health sector in the north-eastern States such as shortage of trained medical manpower, providing access to sparsely populated, remote, far flung areas, improvement of Governance in the Health sector, need for improved quality of health services and making effective and full utilization of existing resources.
The summit also highlighted the emerging opportunities for health care in areas like medical value tourism and alternative & complimentary medicine, which aimed at mainstreaming of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) systems and the revitalization of Local Health Traditions within the policy on medical pluralism currently being implemented in the entire country.