'Need to increase India's spending in health sector': Mukherjee

Mysore, Sept 23 : President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said that there is a need to increase India's spending in the health sector.

"Public expenditure on health in India is 1.2 per cent of GDP, which is much lower than the 4 per cent plus levels in countries like US, UK, Australia, Norway and Brazil," President Mukherjee said while inaugurating the new hospital building of Jagadguru Sri Shiva-rathreeshwara (JSS) Maha-vidya-peetha at a function here.

He said if we want our nation to progress; to be counted as one of the advanced countries in the world, we have to build our soft power.

"We can traverse the road ahead only if we invest adequately in our population. We have to enhance people's capabilities by ensuring health and nutritional security, providing quality education and ensuring a decent standard of life," he said.

He further said technology has to be harnessed in healthcare to increase access to quality medical treatment.

He also highlighted the telemedicine project, using satellite technology, which has connected remote health centres with super specialty hospitals in urban areas, and added that this has helped expert healthcare consultation to reach the needy and under-served people.

President Mukherjee stressed that other innovative uses of technology have to be explored, and effective and inexpensive cure for many diseases has to be found.

"Sophisticated equipments for medical procedures that are presently imported have to be manufactured indigenously. Research centres and medical colleges have to be encouraged for innovations," he said.

"To have a large pool of high-calibre doctors in our country, medical education has to be strengthened. Our doctors have to be provided exposure to latest advances in their fields of specialization," he added.

He also said that studies have indicated that investments in preventive public health are both pro-poor and pro-growth.

"Our health coverage strategy has to look beyond medical cure and intervention. Preventive healthcare has to assume importance due to the increasing trend of lifestyle diseases. Our health system has to gear itself to treat people and also provide guidance about prevention of medical conditions," he added.

He further said that a 'healthy India' is possible, but for that, disease prevention, early detection and treatment have to be encouraged.

"A healthy living has to be fostered. Balanced diet, physical activity, lifestyle management and environment care have to be promoted to achieve well-being of mind and body. For ushering in healthy behaviour and practices, efforts have to be directed at change, in both individuals and communities," he said.

The JSS Maha-vidya-peetha, a nonprofit organization, was set up in 1954 by Dr. Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Mahaswamiji of the Jagadguru Veera Simhasana Peetha of Suttur.

--ANI (Posted on 24-09-2013)

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