Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday emphasised the need to address the problem of manpower shortage in the medical profession.
He said that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for expansion of India's health infrastructure at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
While interacting with medical students and faculty at Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada, the Vice President expressed happiness that India is on the path to achieving the WHO-recommended ratio of one doctor per 1,000 people by 2024.
He also appreciated the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission which seeks to strengthen the critical healthcare network from the village to the national level in the next four to five years.
Ruing that the medical profession has become increasingly commercialised over the years, he advised the budding medical graduates to lend a human touch while treating their patients.
"Medical profession is one of the noblest professions and all of you should always remain committed to the Hippocrates Oath. Never deviate from the righteous path and maintain the highest ethical and moral standards," he said.
Stressing the need to fully leverage India's strength in the IT sector, Naidu called for promoting public-private partnership (PPP) in different areas, including establishing telemedicine connectivity to remote rural areas.
Telemedicine will help in reducing costs and improving access in rural India, he opined and expressed confidence that the recently launched Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission would help in creating the necessary ecosystem for delivering an efficient and inclusive universal health coverage.
In view of the shortage of manpower in the rural areas, the Vice President suggested making rural service mandatory before giving the first promotion to government doctors.
He also recognised the need to attract more doctors to the rural areas by providing incentives and improving housing and other infrastructure.
Expressing concern over the high levels of out-of-pocket expenditure on health, Naidu emphasised the need to make healthcare affordable and accessible to all.
In this regard, he underlined the need to increase public spending on the health sector.
"At the same time, I would urge the private players in the health sector to join hands with the government in providing affordable state-of-the-art treatment modalities to the people," he added.
Referring to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Naidu asked the medical fraternity to be ready to tackle any such disease/epidemic in future by increasing their focus on research on emerging diseases.
He also commended the doctors, scientists and all the frontline workers for their dedication and selfless service to save lives and prevent the spread of COVID-19 transmission.
Expressing happiness over the rise in economic activity post COVID, he cautioned everyone to remain on guard and continue to adhere to COVID-related protocols till the situation returns to complete normalcy.
"We cannot act recklessly and invite another wave. I am sure that as those associated with the medical profession, all of you will create greater awareness on this issue among the people," he said.
Drawing attention to the worrisome trend of the rapid increase in Non-Communicable Diseases, Naidu called for concerted effort by all stakeholders to arrest the trend of growing NCDs.
He advised the young medical professionals to not only adopt a healthy and balanced lifestyle, but motivate others too.
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