Vimarsha: ‘Making Healthcare Affordable’, Talk by Dr. Devi Shetty
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The VIF invited the noted cardiac surgeon, Dr. Devi Shetty, Founder and Chairman of Narayana Group of Hospitals, for a talk on ‘Making Healthcare Affordable’, followed by an interactive session. The talk was held under the auspices of Vimarsha series of lectures delivered by persons of great eminence on issues of contemporary and historical significance,. Decorated with India’s third highest civilian award, the ‘Padma Bhushan’ in 2012 for his contributions to affordable healthcare, Dr. Shetty enthralled the audience with his vision for an universal healthcare scheme which substantially brings down the costs of high-end medical procedures simply by relying on the economies of scale and creation of medical centers in far flung areas.

Dr. Shetty’s timely yet insightful talk underlined the fact that India is short by two million doctors and five million nurses, while the shortages are expected to multiply further given the exponential growth in population. A part of the blame for this rests with the elitist ‘license’ system which prohibits even minor surgeries to be performed by long-experienced doctors unless they possess post-graduate degrees. But looking at the number of seats for medical post-graduation in India, which is just 14,500, Dr. Shetty stressed that it is impossible to fulfil the large requirement of post-graduates to cater to a large population. He then praised the Maharashtra Government for making special provisions to allow certified post-graduate diploma holding medical practitioners to provide higher level of treatment.

Highlighting India’s health problems, the noted medical philanthropist pointed out that India’s maternal and infant mortality rates are worse than Sub-Saharan Africa. As a part of a strategy to bridge the medical deficit in the country, he suggested the need to incentivise enrolment of medical students from rural backgrounds with some bindings for rural service. Dr. Shetty further opined that just the increase in healthcare budgets will neither remove the essential shortcomings of our implementation system, nor will it address the glaring medical problems like negligence of pregnant women. He laid stress on educating the women on taking better care of themselves and their families, stating that educating women is essentially the same as educating the entire family and therefore a key to national development.

On economics of the medical industry and employment generation, Dr. Shetty made a strong case for mass-training of para-medical professionals and sending them to fill the huge vacancies abroad, an endeavor which possibly could bring in approximately $ 100 billion in remittances. Dr. Shetty also predicted that in less than ten years, software would be so ingrained into our medical world that it would lessen manual labour by a big chunk, and that would offer new opportunities in Information Technology sector, the renowned surgeon concluded.

Event Date 
December 19, 2017
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