Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated a hospital in Mumbai and stressed that preventive healthcare should be given importance by encouraging measures like washing hands among children to reduce the burden on the nation's healthcare systems, saying that small steps like these this will have an impact. He also raised concern over India's high child mortality rate and said it is a serious issue.
The prime minister also talked about the 'Make in India' initiative, saying that the domestic production of medical equipment will cut the cost of healthcare.
Preventive healthcare is important. The consciousness and facilities that are required for that can be improved: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) October 25, 2014
Talking about medical facilities to the poor, he said that a poor face immense difficulties, if a poor person falls ill the entire family can starve; and pointed out that the tele-medicine facilities will ensure best treatment for the poor.
"Tele-medicine enables expert opinion even for people living far away. We need to integrate this and give good facilities to people," PM Modi said.
Earlier, the prime minister inaugurated the hospital, now in its 90th year, located in south Mumbai, which has been re-built by Reliance Foundation, led by its chairperson Nita Ambani, into a modern 19-storey tower with two heritage wings.
Nita Ambani termed it "a historic day" in the life of the hospital which was re-dedicated to the people of Mumbai.
"Narendra bhai, we assure that this hospital will become a centre of good health and global levels of health-care, respect for life, modern technology combined with love and compassion, with dignity to all," she said.
"This will not just be a hospital but an institution of care," she said, adding that words like religion, caste, social strata, age and gender will not interfere with the kind of treatment patients receive.
"We won't just treat health, we will also respect life," and at this institution quality will meet affordability, she added.
Founded in 1925 as Mumbai's first general hospital, it has a rich heritage -- it saw the freedom struggle and the Second World War, and Mahatma Gandhi was among its frequent visitors.
The hospital celebrated its silver jubilee with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as its chief guest and the golden jubilee celebrations were graced by Jayaprakash Narayan.
Now in its 90th year, the prime minister is inaugurating its new avatar, the foundation said.
The 345-bed, multi-specialty tertiary care hospital has six thrust areas: cardiac sciences, nephro-urology, neuro sciences, oncology, orthopaedics and spine, and women and child health.
Earlier, Mukesh Ambani, his wife Nita and other family members welcomed Modi near the entrance to the hospital, along with Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao.
The ceremonies were performed before a galaxy of film stars, business honchos, cricketers, politicians and other celebrities from different walks of life.
Present at the inauguration were Kokilaben Ambani, Amitabh Bachchan, Gulzar, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Paresh Rawal, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai, Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Praful Patel, Kajol, Rani Mukherjee, Sonali Bendre, Asha Bhosale, M.S. Dhoni, union minister Nitin Gadkari, and Maharashtra BJP leaders Devendra Fadnavis and Vinod Tawde among others.
(With agency inputs)