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PM Modi calls upon private firms to enter medical education sector in big way

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New Delhi: Noting that Indian students have been going to many small countries for medical education despite the language barrier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged the private sector to make a big presence in the field. Speaking after inaugurating a webinar on the Union budget announcements on the health sector, Modi suggested that state governments should also formulate good policies for land allotment for medical education so that India could produce a large number of doctors and paramedics to fulfill even global demand.

His remarks assume significance at a time when a large number of Indian students, many of them studying medicine, have been stuck in Ukraine following the Russian attack on that country.

Modi made no direct mention of the crisis though.

The prime minister said Indian students going abroad for study, especially in medical education, also result in hundreds of billions of rupees exiting the country as well.

“Our children today are going to small countries for study, especially in medical education. Language is a problem there. They are still going…Can our private sector not enter this field in a big way? Can our state governments not frame good policies for land allotment regarding this,” he asked.

India can benefit a lot from its demographic dividend in this field, he said, adding Indian doctors have enhanced the country’s prestige across the world in the last many decades with their work.

In the webinar, Modi also highlighted his government’s efforts to provide quality health as well as wellness services to people with its holistic approach to the healthcare system.

The government has been working with the spirit of “one India one health” so that people in remote locations also have access to quality healthcare, he said, adding quality healthcare infrastructure should not be confined only to big cities, he said.

Modi said work on 1.5 lakh health and wellness centers is progressing at a brisk pace, with over 85,000 centers providing the facility of routine checkups, vaccination and tests till now.

Congratulating India’s healthcare professionals for the country’s massive COVID-19 vaccination programme, he said it has established the efficiency and mission-oriented nature of India’s healthcare system.

Platforms like CoWin have established India’s reputation in the world with regard to digital health solutions, he added.

Asserting that the Union budget builds upon the efforts to reform and transform the healthcare sector that have been undertaken during the last seven years, Modi elaborated on three factors that underline the efforts of making the health sector holistic and inclusive.

Expansion of modern medical science-related infrastructure and human resources, promotion of research in the traditional Indian medical systems like Ayush and their active engagement in the healthcare system, and providing affordable healthcare to every citizen and every region of the country via modern and futuristic technology are these factors, he said.

“It is our endeavor that critical healthcare facilities should be at the block level, at the district level, near the villages. This infrastructure needs to be maintained and upgraded from time to time. For this, the private sector and other sectors will also have to come forward with more energy”, Modi added.

On enhancing the medical human resources, the prime minister said as the demand for healthcare services is increasing, efforts are being made to create skilled health professionals accordingly.

A significant hike has been made in the budget for health education and human resource development related to healthcare as compared to last year, he said, asking the healthcare community to work with a set time frame on the task of taking these reforms forward with the help of technology, with a focus on improving quality of medical education and making it more inclusive and affordable.

The prime minister dwelled on the positive role of remote healthcare and telemedicine during the pandemic, and said they will play a big role in reducing health access divide between urban and rural India.

Mentioning the upcoming 5G network and optical fiber network project for every village, he asked the private sector to come forward to increase its role and emphasised on the use of drone technology for medical purposes.

Noting the growing global acceptance of Ayush, he exuded pride in WHO going to start its only Global Center of Traditional Medicine in India. Now it is up to all of us how to create better solutions of Ayush for ourselves and for the world as well,” he added. 

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