Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre (RGCIRC), one of India’s leading cancer care centres, has asked for higher allocation for preventive healthcare so as to meet the rising challenge of lifestyle induced illnesses.
"Being presented in the wake of the pandemic, our expectations from the Budget 2021 centre around higher allocation towards healthcare and policies for incentivizing a robust healthcare infrastructure, said Mr D S Negi IAS (Retd.) CEO, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre (RGCIRC). Ayushman Bharat is no doubt a highly positive step towards attaining the objective of universal healthcare; however more budgets need to be apportioned for its continued success.
India is one of the youngest nations with over 60% population under the age of 35 years. However the disease burden is quite acute. Especially lifestyle-induced illnesses are taking a heavy toll. Apportioning larger funds towards preventive health and wellness segments would go a long way in tackling the challenge. Over 60% of the cancers can be cured and disease burden brought down if preventive health check-ups are undertaken and the disease is detected early. Institutes such as RGCIRC are actively pursuing this with a dedicated unit on preventive oncology, stated Mr Negi.
India woefully lacks in hospital beds required for its populace. Higher tax incentives to the private sector towards modernizing medical facilities will go a long way in ensuring better healthcare, more investments and thereby generate more employment."
On broader health policy formulation and for building a healthier society, Mr Negi who has been principal Secretary (Health & Family Welfare), Govt. of NCT of Delhi stated that the Covid pandemic had indeed been a great learning experience. The pandemic was unprecedented, the disease was unpredictable and the world was not prepared to address the havoc created by it. When looked closely, the genesis of this pandemic lies in environmental degradation. Ushering in the new decade, we will need to check environmental degradation at a war footing and protect mother nature. The world will need to come together in strategizing for protecting the environment since climate change which has stated affecting crop cycles could lead to starvation and situations worse than a pandemic.
Secondly health infrastructure will need to be strengthened especially for a dense country such as India. Covid 19 took us unawares. The existing space in hospitals had to be earmarked for Covid treatment. However for a specialty cancer centre such as RGCIRC that can be a challenge since cancer patients are immune-compromised. For a long-term view, capacity building in health infrastructure is a must.
Thirdly, tele/ video consultation has emerged as a ray of hope. Even after the pandemic is over, tele consultation is going to stay. The coming decade will see more innovative patient outreach technologies aiding in healthcare, Mr Negi added.