Days after India launched a mega healthcare scheme covering 40 per cent of its population, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said the health outcomes cannot be achieved by the government alone and the private sector has to chip in.
“While the government is taking all measures to develop healthcare facilities and infrastructure, the private sector too must chip in under the CSR programme or establish affordable healthcare centres,” he said after inaugurating a state-of-the-art Rainbow Children’s Hospital.
Naidu said the Indian private healthcare has witnessed phenomenal growth over the last two decades, but the focus has been primarily on adult heath care.
“There is a severe shortage of exclusive and specialized health care facilities for women and children,” he said addressing a gathering where Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda was also present.
With under five mortality rate in India at 43 per 1,000 live births, Infant Mortality Rate at 34 per 1,000 live births and Neonatal Mortality Rates at 25 per 1,000 live births, it is estimated that 10.8 lakh under five children die annually, he said.
“Childhood malnutrition continues to be a serious public health concern and a development challenge. The major causes of child mortality in India include prematurity and low birth weight, pneumonia and diarrheal diseases, among others,” he said.
The Vice President said that there has to be a greater health awareness and health-seeking behaviour among people. The new National Health Protection Scheme can potentially make a huge difference in the lives of the poor impacting both their physical as well as economic well being, he added.
The government, in the Union Budget for 2018-19, has announced National Health Protection Scheme to provide medical insurance to 10 crore poor and needy families. The government also plans to establish 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres across the country to provide comprehensive healthcare, including maternal and child health services.
While highlighting the need for more specialized children’s hospitals, Naidu said the private sector must ensure that the treatment provided by them is not only accessible but also affordable.
“The Vedic Rishis had prayed for a world free from disease. ‘Sarve Santu Niraamayaa’. In order to create a healthier India, we need the active participation of the private sector and philanthropists,” he added.