Healthcare Access Award 2015 announced
Usha Sharma – Mumbai
Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) recently organised its fourth ‘Healthcare Access Summit’ in Mumbai. The day-long event registered key industry stakeholders and policy makers who discussed various measures which needs to be taken in order to improve healthcare access in India.
During the inauguration, Dr VK Subburaj, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals spoke about the current state of healthcare scenario in India. He began his address by recalling the evolution of the global and Indian pharma industry and the importance of medicines. He talked about the growing disease burden worldwide, and especially in India. He went on to say, “India is becoming the capital for CVD, diabetes and cancer. Globally, cancer cases are increasing and it is highly recommended that the Indian population should go for routine check ups. The solution for all this lies in adopting the prevention approach.”
He also pointed out that India has several health days to commemorate, however, the advocacy for prevention and awareness about these disease remain constraint to only those days. He stressed upon the fact that India lags behind in addressing disease burden.
Highlighting the immunisation strategies, he went on to say, “I think there is a need to have a separate agency which will create awareness among the masses to prevent diseases.”
Speaking about the scarcity of doctors in our country, Subburaj pointed out that we have less medical colleges that can provide seats to the number of students applying for medical studies. He added that we need to make adequate arrangement to increase the number of doctors in India.
While speaking on Tamil Nadu government’s initiative towards healthcare, he encouraged the public private partnership model and mentioned that wherever good healthcare practices are available in the country, other states should adopt it as the sector needs innovation for the betterment of the society.
Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Government of India requested the healthcare industry to become self reliable on things which we are dependent to other countries. Ahir said that the core objective is to work for the betterment of the country’s population. He also mentioned that the government wants to increase the production capabilities of the industry and avail affordable medicines to the needy people of the country. “Our ministry is constantly working on this space and I request to the industry to work along with the government,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Ahir also expressed his views on the recent ban of 700 pharma products by EU, “I am confident that very soon this ban will be revoked as Ministry of Commerce, Government of India is working on it.”
Dr K Srinath Reddy, President, PHFI, highlighted the need for technology-enabled public healthcare system and centralised government’s drug procurement systems.
Reddy also questioned the government’s will to successfully implement the National Health Policy. He suggested that to build an productive healthcare system, we need to approach states for more resources. “India needs a combination of investment, innovation and integrity to build a strong healthcare system,” he said.
During the event, OPPI also announced the Healthcare Access Award 2015 which was bagged by Narayana Health. Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Health, who spoke to the audience through a video call, urged the government to equalise UG and PG seats for medical colleges in India. He said, “The US has 19,000 undergraduate seats and 40,000 post graduate seats whereas here in India, we have 50,000 undergraduate seats and only 14,000 postgraduate seats. Due to this, we are desperately falling short of specialists to tackle NCD and other conditions that need specialised care.”
Receiving the award on behalf of Shetty, Arunesh Punetha, Zonal Director, Narayana Health spoke about their corporate plans, “We will soon establish our hospitals in Jammu, Lucknow, Bhubaneshwar and Mumbai.
Nitin Goel, MD, IMS Health Information and Consulting Services India presented the gaps in Indian healthcare infrastructure limits especially in rural areas. He also released their latest report on the healthcare system. He informed that seeing the present scenario, we need three lakh qualified doctors in the system to provide quality healthcare to the Indian population. He also pointed out that no comprehensive survey has been done to know where the healthcare infrastructure has been created. There have been funds created but it’s not being used. Healthcare spending needs to be increased to six per cent of GDP, primarily driven by increase in public spend, he added.
(With inputs from Raelene Kambli)