'More than 8 lakh additional hospital beds required in Northeast to equal world average'

Poor healthcare services in the Northeast and the need to enhance manpower, including setting up of more medical colleges in the region are the requirement of the day.  

Zee Media Bureau

Guwahati: A two-day Northeast Health Care Summit was successfully organized by FICCI and PHFI in Guwahati, with the key message foccusing on investment and infrastructure in healthcare in the region.

The initiative was inaugurated by Mr Lalthanzara, Hon’ble Minister, Health and FW, Mizoram along with Mr Ranjit Barthakur, Chairman, FICCI NE Advisory Council, Dr K Srinath Reddy, President Public Health Foundation of India (through VC), and Mr Jayanto Narayan Choudhury, Vice president PHFI.

“Poor healthcare services in the Northeast and the need to enhance manpower, including setting up of more medical colleges in the region are the requirement of the day. There is an urgent need to review the progress of schemes sanctioned by centre or the NEC towards the improvement of healthcare services in the region, especially infrastructure, in addition to finding out better ways and means to remove health problems and inaccessibility to quality healthcare especially in rural areas of the region. At present, only Assam, Tripura and Manipur have been able to set up their own medical colleges, while states like Mizoram, which grapple with cancer are yet to get any college,” said Mr Lalthanzara.

Mr PD Rai, Member of Parliament from Sikkim stressed that there is an urgent need to engage corporates for enhancing public health and advancing technology in this region, ensuring better reach, quality and coverage of health services.

Mr Ranjit Barthakur, Chairman, FICCI NE Advisory Council said, “The northeastern region has the potential to become the new growth driver for the Indian economy but this can happen only if the population can function to its full potential, unbridled by the burden of diseases”.

“Globally, an average of 2.9 beds are available per 1000 population, therefor to even reach anywhere close to the global average, with a population of 45.45 million people, the North East would need over 8 lakh additional hospital beds” he added.

Dr K Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India, in his video address said, “Northeast is one of the most vibrant regions in India, but its health indicators have unfortunately lagged behind rest of India on many counts”.

Over 200 delegates including doctors from the Northeastern states, national and regional speakers and stakeholders representing hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical devices companies and others participated in the deliberations.

The two day summit discussed various problems in the health sector in the Northeastern states including - shortage of trained medical manpower, providing access to sparsely populated, remote, far flung areas, improvement of governance in the health sector, need for improved quality of health services and making effective and full utilization of existing resources.

On the sidelines of the summit, a Healthcare Exhibition was showcased, with a view to explore the emerging opportunities for healthcare providers in the Northeast, build a strong connect between healthcare providers and other stake holders.