Pranab Mukherjee for socio-economic medical system for poor

Medical institutions should inculcate humanistic approach in the minds of young doctors and health professionals to orient them towards a value-based career in medicine, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday.

Kolkata: Medical institutions should inculcate humanistic approach in the minds of young doctors and health professionals to orient them towards a value-based career in medicine, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday.

Speaking at a function here, he said there is a need for creation of adequate capacity in medical colleges and expand infrastructure in hospital and healthcare centres for investigation and treatment.

"A thought that should seriously engage our attention today is the nature of health system that we ought to have in our country - a commercial, profit-driven system or a system conversant with the socio-economic conditions prevailing in our society," he said after inaugurating a 150-bed facility at the Institute of Neurosciences.
Mukherjee said medical institutions have a pivotal role to guide country's health sector.

"You (institutions) have a responsibility to inculcate a humanistic approach in the minds of the young doctors and health professionals and orient them towards a value-based career in medicine," he said.

At the same time, he said, doctors have to remember that the nation has invested in their education and they have to be fired by the spirit of patriotism and a sense of social responsibility.

Mukherjee also favoured holistic approach to neuroscience which is essential to establish a credible healing system in a world-wide scenario of rising neurological disorders.

"Demographic change from youthful to an older population has taken place on account of increased life expectancy and reduced fertility."

"The resultant ageing of the population has caused a rise in neurological disorders like Dementia and Parkinson's disease that are pre-dominantly associated with the aged," he said.

The burden of neurological disorders, which was 92 million disability-adjusted life years in 2005 and estimated at 95 million in 2015, is projected to rise to 103 million by 2030, the President said.

"If comprehensive action is not initiated with due seriousness, the burden of neurological disorders will continue to increase and pose an even greater challenge for public health managers, planners and administrators in the future," he said.

Mukherjee said in some neurological disorders, care revolves around the family support system.

For instance in India, where the incidence of dementia over the age of 60 years is about 1.9 percent, 50 percent of the carers are spouses. "At the same time with socio-economic change taking place, family structures have evolved from joint to nuclear system resulting in greater dependence on private medical care, thereby leading to higher out-of-pocket expenses.

"The health insurance system has to be revamped to take care of the special needs of the aged," the President said.

He also suggested public education and awareness campaigns involving all stakeholders to deal with neurological disorder.

"As per a report, 70 percent of epileptic patients could become seizure free with the drug Phenobarbital."

"In reality though, 80 percent epileptic patients in low income countries remain untreated on account of lack of drugs and trained personnel," he said.

A robust primary health service aided by secondary and tertiary health sectors, with specialists to diagnose and suggest remedial action, is necessary, Mukherjee said.

It is estimated that there are about 1,100 qualified clinical neurologists in our country of which 36 percent work in the four metropolitan cities leaving many areas dependent on single neurologists, he said.

"It is incumbent on our health sector to create adequate capacity in our medical colleges to churn out more specialists and perform cutting-edge research; and expand infrastructure in our hospitals and healthcare centres for investigation and treatment," he said.

Mukherjee said it is important that our medical schools undertake faculty development, upgrade the syllabi and review the horizon of their research activities.

The institute started out-patient services in 2009 and in-patient services with 50 beds a year later.

West Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi and Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court Manjula Chellur were among other dignitaries present during the function.

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