'Country needs more health volunteers than doctors'

United Nations-World Health Organisation Regional Advisor (retd) Derek Lobo has said that to enhance the health sector in the country, India needs more health volunteers than doctors.

“India has 360 medical colleges producing 40,000 doctors annually. Still, the infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate could not be checked.

As the majority of people who have no access to healthcare are in rural areas, we want more health volunteers to address this grave issue.” Lobo was delivering address at the foundation day celebrations of NGO Health Care Foundation here on Saturday.

 To substantiate his argument, Lobo said that in many African countries National TB Manager or National Leprosy Manager are non-medical personnel and those countries have a commendable track record in eradicating diseases like Malaria, TB and Leprosy.

He elaborated that to cure Malaria, TB and Leprosy, doctors are not inevitable but health volunteers are a necessity.

“We should look at health care in a wellness perspective and not illness one. The focus in health care should be on promotion, prevention, curative and rehabilitative aspects. But we are putting all attention on the curative aspect neglecting preventive aspect,” he rued. Investment pour in curative section only with specialty and super-specialty treatments mushrooming all around. 

Lobo called upon authorities to hike the fund allocation to healthcare from a mere two per cent of the GDP to five per cent. “An affordable and quality medical care accessible to all should be our motto. To achieve this, every stakeholder should sit together and goverment has to evolve a comprehensive plan addressing all vital concerns,” he stressed. 

Dr Jeelani Qadiri, Dr Udayakumar K, Dr Prashanth Marla and district health and family welfare officer Dr H S Shivakumar participated in the panel discussion on 'Affordable healthcare: issues and concerns.'  

Editor of 'Issues and concerns' Jayaram Shriyan, Dr Sushil Jathanna, Dr Edvin Fernandes were present. The news-letter of  health care foundation was released. 

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