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Indian dignitaries lack faith in healthcare system

Manohar ParrikarAlthough the country celebrated its 69th Republic Day this year, unsatisfactory health coverage and shoddy implementation of sketchy budget allocations for primary health centres and health professionals have rudely shown how our country is chronically lacking enough iatrical facilities.

Modi government has never failed to beat their own drums while talking about now-uplifted and effortless healthcare facilities pan India. But, all their bragging became inconsolable when BJP’s own Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar showed distrust in Indian healthcare efficiency and left for USA late on Wednesday night to undergo treatment for his ailing health.

The Goa CM’s health has not been up to par since past few weeks. He was admitted and under treatment for pancreatitis ailment in Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital from February 15 to February 22.Three days later being discharged, Parrikar was again admitted to the Goa Medical College and Hospital and was discharged on March 1.

“I have been advised by an expert team of doctors in Goa as well as in Mumbai to travel overseas for specialist expert treatment of my medical condition. As such, I am likely to leave for the US,” Parrikar wrote to the Governor in his letter, dated March 5.

When AV spoke to Goa Congress chief Shantaram Naik, he responds saying, “It’s Goa CM’s wish if he wants to go for better treatment abroad. But, the main concern is the government in his absence. Monitoring the administration via video conferences is completely unconstitutional. Before leaving for the USA, he appointed an advisory committee of three officials to govern the state, which is completely illegal.”

When asked about the poor healthcare system in India, he replied, “Medical facilities need to be improved in the country as not everyone can afford costly abroad treatment!”

“India has improved its medical facilities but there are more scopes for better upliftment. Congress condemns every unconstitutional activity that is happening in Goa in the name of administration!” he added.

What can be the possible reaction of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who recently unveiled National Health Protection Scheme and gone far ahead to name it as ‘Modicare’ that provides health coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation? Though the way to fund, structure, manage or make the grandly named scheme to work are still beneath the shadow.

It also mocks the PM Modi who in 2012 attacked the then UPA govt with allegations about spendingRs1,880 crore on former Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi’s medical treatment abroad.

AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan expressed, “Parrikar’s wish to take specialised medical treatment aboard is a personal choice. Healthcare facilities in India require urgent improvements and we hope to see the changes in near future. Govt should think to provide better health care facilities to common people.”

It has rightly been said that India resides in its villages and our economy reflects the condition of rural India. That being the case, question arises that if an Indian Chief Minister, who enjoys the nation’s all elite medical advantages, has to visit abroad for a step ahead treatment, what is in the fate of millions of Indians who end their lives in government hospitals or struggle to get a bed or reach high cost-treatment in private nursing homes?

The snapshot of Indian healthcare is much below the average standard. The grim condition becomes spine-chilling when the death of 400 children in a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur in August came in light.In this country, near to 30 per cent of citizens do not have access to primary healthcare facilities and another 30 per cent of people in rural India do not visit hospitals due to fear of the expenses. Around 39 million Indians fall below the poverty line each year because of healthcare expenses. The high priced medicines too add more to the ache. About 70 per cent of Indians spend all their income on healthcare and medicines; also nearly 75 per cent of dispensaries, 60 per cent of hospitals and 80 per cent of doctors are located in urban centres!

NCP MLC Hemant Takle said, “It is the primary duty of the govt to provide basic medical and sanitary care facilities to every citizen. Medical science is continuously growing and improving. Goa CM Parrikar has every right to look for specialised treatment abroad. Now, India is a well known medical hub in the world; Middle East people don’t go to western countries, instead they visit India to get better treatment. So government should consider this fact to improve health and hospitality industry in India.”

The main key challenges that identifies the loop holes in the medicare system include India’s weak primary healthcare sector, unequally distributed skilled human resources, low public health expenditure, irrational use and spiralling cost of drugs and last but not the least weak governance and accountability

Nearly 30,000 doctors, 20,000 dentists and 45,000 nurses graduate from medical colleges across India. Despite that, doctor-to-patient ratio in India is only 6 for every 10,000 people. Besides, pan India, there is only one government hospital bed for 1,833 people and that indicates one government hospital serves 61,000 people.

The Modi govt has to take the charge and implement every suitable solution to improve healthcare in India through intervention to avoid monetary concerns and an unbiased approach to protect India’s basic primary healthcare network.
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