Make mandatory posting of fresh MBBS in rural areas-Naidu
New Delhi-The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that a possible solution to address the shortage of doctors in rural areas could be mandatory posting of fresh MBBS graduates in rural areas before granting them their first promotion. He was addressing the inaugural session of 15th World Rural Health Conference with the theme “Healing the Heart of Healthcare – Leaving no one behind”, organized by the Academy of Family Physicians. The Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
The Vice President said that the private sector, NGOs and doctors’ organizations like Academy of Family Physicians of India can play a bigger and more participative role in supplementing the efforts of the governments in ending the urban-rural divide. A possible solution to address the shortage of doctors in rural areas could be mandatory posting of fresh MBBS graduates in rural areas before granting them their first promotion, he added.
Highlighting the need to promote the concept of a family doctor in a big way, the Vice President said that a family doctor provides primary and continuing care to the entire family within the communities; addresses physical, psychological and social problems; and coordinates comprehensive health care services with other specialists, as needed. Family physicians deliver a range of acute, chronic and preventive medical care services, he added.
He said that we should also explore how efficiently we can utilize the expertise of AYUSH doctors in strengthening rural health care.With people in rural areas also falling prey to lifestyle diseases like diabetes, cancers and stroke, it has become highly imperative to provide an effective, affordable healthcare delivery services to the rural people. This can be achieved through public-private partnership.
The ILO report also mentioned that there was a shortfall of seven million health workers in rural areas across the globe as compared to three million workers in urban areas. The report highlights that nearly 63% of the world’s rural population do not have access to health care because of underfunding, compared to 33% of the urban population.
He said that “in India too, the rural areas are lagging behind urban areas in terms of medical services and the time has come for us in India to treat this unhealthy gap in providing preventive and curative medical services in the rural areas on a war footing. Low doctor-patient ratio, poor access to health services and low utilization of health services are some of the major problems”.
According to Rural Health Statistics 2016, about 4.6 percent of functional PHCs in India are un-electrified. In other words, over 38 million rural households are dependent on health facilities that have no electricity.
Major bottlenecks in the delivery of an effective healthcare system are a low doctor-patient ratio, lack of skilled paramedics and poor infrastructure. To overcome this, there is a need to have a strong political commitment and strong advocacy from relevant national and international organizations with the support of nongovernmental organizations.
He said, today, India has one of the most privatized health systems in the world with 72% of health expenditure made in private sector. Out of pocket expenditure is a major area of concern with about 80% of population spending on health services from their personal expenses and only 3% of the population, especially in the formal sector, is getting some type of health insurance.