Healthcare system must reach the poor: Pranab

President Pranab Mukherjee has called for expansion of quality public health care system and the need to ensure that it reaches out to the poor in the society.

Inaugurating the year-long golden jubilee celebrations of the government TD Medical College in Alappuzha on Saturday, the President said the country’s public health system has been limited in its reach.

“Many in our population are dependent on private sector for delivery of health services. It is burdensome for poor people to access expensive medical treatment and many fall into the trap of poverty on account of (paying for) it,” the President said.

He said the expenditure on healthcare was 1.04 per cent of the GDP during the eleventh plan. This should rise to 2.5 per cent of the GDP by the end of the twelfth plan if the country has to augment public health care in the country in a big way.

He said it is equally important to produce more medical professionals in order to take full advantage of the growing health care system.

There were 241 medical professionals per one lakh population in 2011-12. It is envisaged that this will increase to 354 by the end of the twelfth plan, he said.

Welcoming the government’s plan to set up six IIM-like premier medical institutes in different regions of the country,  the president said there is an urgent need for more medical institutions in the country.

The President also suggested that the capacity of the existing medical institutions must be enhanced and their quality improved.

“I am confident that our public sector medical colleges will meet the twin challenges of greater quality and quantity,’’ he said.

Later, inaugurating the 125th anniversary of Malayala Manorama daily, Mukherjee said media, which needs to play a special role to make society corruption-free, should maintain a high-degree of professional ethics.

Sensationalism should never come in the way of honest and genuine journalistic activities, he said.

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