Challenges in Indian healthcare persist despite much progress: Vice President

Chennai: Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said the country is making steady progress in healthcare status though there are several challenges to be addressed.

Addressing the 30th convocation of The Tamil Nadu Dr.M.G.R. Medical University here, Naidu said: “Nearly 12 per cent of deaths are due to heart disease. Lung disease and strokes are also major cause of deaths. Out of every 1,000 new born children, 53 are not surviving beyond their fifth birthday. Stunting and malnutrition continue to be problematic.”

According to him, the broad trends do not reveal the full picture because they don’t indicate the existing major inequalities between states and between people in the various socioeconomic strata.

The Vice President also pointed out to the improvement in the country’s healthcare status over the years.

The life expectancy of a person born in India in 1960 was 40 years, which has increased to about 70 years now. Of every 1,000 live children born in India in 1960, about 160 died in the first year, but now the death rate of infants is about a fourth of that level, he said.

Referring to the Central government’s Ayushman Bharat, a national health protection scheme, Naidu said it would not only help people access good health care facility but also spur growth in medical infrastructure.

He said India has had a reverential attitude towards doctors due to the competence of the medical fraternity and the belief that doctors’ advice comes from a pure, objective concern for the well being of the patient.

“This competence and the ability to render honest medical advice are at the heart of good, ethical medical practice,” Naidu said.

The Vice President also told the students not to swerve away from the path of dedicated and focused attention to patient welfare under any circumstances.