Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday urged doctors belonging to the Indian diaspora to give back to the society by adopting their native villages and strengthening Primary Health Centres (PHCs).
"Primary Health Centres play a pivotal role in building a robust low-cost healthcare system. I urge the doctors of Indian diaspora to adopt their own villages and help in improving the Primary Health Services there," he said, adding, "Take active interest in the functioning of PHCs in your own village. Visit your PHCs when you can, understand the situation, guide them; help them improve in whichever way possible."
The Vice President made these remarks after inaugurating the 13th Global Healthcare Summit orgsed by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO) here.
He also pointed out that nearly 86 per cent of all the medical visits in India are made by people living in rural areas with the majority required to travel long distances. Naidu called for paying greater attention to PHCs, which play a pivotal role in building a robust low-cost healthcare system.
Expressing concern over the rising incidences of non-communicable diseases which accounted for 61.08 per cent of all deaths in the country in 2016, Naidu asked the medical fraternity to adopt the concept of 'Medical Social Responsibility' on the lines of CSR and appealed to doctors to visit schools once every week and counsel children on the dangers posed by lifestyle diseases and unhealthy dietary habits.
He also called for a national movement against non-communicable diseases.
Stressing the need to establish NCD clinics in both urban and rural areas, he urged the private sector to play a prominent role in setting up such clinics.
The Vice President termed the inadequate public spend, low doctor-patient ratio, high share of out-of-pocket expenditure, inadequate infrastructure in rural areas as the main problems surrounding healthcare in India.
The Vice-President also called for bridging the gap by opening more medical colleges and increasing the number of seats at both graduate and Post-graduate levels.
Naidu said there was also a need to orgse massive awareness drives to sensitize people on the practices to be adopted for disease prevention.
"We must move away from a treatment approach to a wellness-based approach, a goal that has been clearly enunciated in the National Health Policy, 2017," he said.
During his address, Naidu said, "Your 'Karma bhoomi' might very well be different from your 'janmabhoomi' but continue to keep your ties with your'Janmabhoomi' and work tirelessly for its welfare."
Naidu also mentioned that with health being accorded top priority by the government, the average life expectancy has increased to 69 years and India's disease burden due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases has dropped from 61 to 33 per cent between 1990 and 2016.
Talking of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the Vice President said that around 10 lakh people have already received free treatment under the scheme.
Dr. Suresh Reddy, President of AAPI, and Dr. Pratap C Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Hospitals were also present on the occasion.
( With inputs from ANI )