Mumbai: Citing WHO`s grim predictions about
medical challenges before the country, President Pratibha
Patil today said the expansion of healthcare facilities in
India was still a "work in progress".
"Good health parameters of a society are an absolute
necessity for the economic progress... For India, a country
with the second largest population in the world, we can
realise our demographic dividend only if we empower our
citizens," Patil told reporters after inaugurating Seven Hills
hospital in suburban Andheri this morning.
One way of empowerment was providing adequate health
facilities, she added.
"Since, our independence we have achieved some success in
the healthcare sector like increase in life expectancy and
eradication of some endemic diseases. However, it is still a
work in progress. We are yet to reach the goal of health for
all... access and affordability of healthcare for
underprivileged and marginalised sections, in particular women
and children, remain unaccomplished tasks," Patil, who is on a
two-day visit here, said, adding "penetration of health
services in rural areas is particularly low."
Talking about the threat perception by `lifestyle
diseases`, Patil said as per WHO, there would be 80 million
diabetes patients in the country by 2030, while as per the
Cardiological Society of India, there would be a 100
million heart cardiac patients -- 60 per cent of the total
cardiac patients in the world -- in India by 2020.
"WHO has cautioned that India would be diabetes capital
of the world," she added.