Concerns over healthcare expressed by VP Hamid Ansari, India

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The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari appealed to the graduating medical students to ponder over their professional role and societal expectation and called upon them to perform the inherent public duties of their medical profession even as they pursue their careers in the private sector.

Addressing at the “Fourth Convocation of the Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Medical University at Lucknow”, he said that rapid economic growth of the past decade has not only lifted many of our people from poverty but also brought about highly uneven access to the fruits of development along multiple dimensions of region, class, community and gender.

The Vice President expressed his concern that the life expectancy at birth is 56 years in UP as against 74 years in Kerala. It would thus seem that the state you are born into determines how long you would live. The meaning of this for the 180 million population of Uttar Pradesh is profoundly disturbing. These figures have national relevance since Uttar Pradesh is home to one-sixth of our population. It is to be recalled that the state of health of citizens is a component of the globally and nationally accepted parameters of human development. On this count, and as the State Planning Department has noted, “UP continues to languish at a low level of human development”.

The Vice President said that we must take note of the growing importance of health insurance for various segments of the population. Central and State Governments are enhancing their support for health insurance coverage in limited geographical and occupational contexts, with some success. Some of the examples include the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana for BPL cardholders, the Rajiv Aarogyasri Community Health Insurance Scheme in Andhra Pradesh and the Yeshasvini Cooperative Farmers Health Insurance Scheme in Karnataka. Health insurance provides a way of risk pooling and cost sharing among various segments of the population. While this is not a panacea, Uttar Pradesh could look at the successful experience of other governments and seek to emulate where possible.

Source: Press Information Bureau, India

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