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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 30.04.2014

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee released a commemorative postage stamp on Gobind Ballabh Pant Hospital at Rashtrapati Bhavan Auditorium today (April 30, 2014).

Speaking on the occasion, the President extended his warm greetings to G.B. Pant Hospital on its Golden Jubilee Celebrations. Paying homage and respect to Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, the President stated that he was a great visionary leader and a front ranker in India’s national movement. He stated that he was exceptionally brilliant and was an excellent Parliamentarian. His unique contribution as Union Home Minister was the re-organization of States along linguistic lines.

The President stated that a healthy population will be more receptive to programmes and initiatives for improving its education, food security and employment opportunities. A strong and fit population can more easily be motivated and steered to realise the nation’s goals. A vibrant society, free from disease and malaise, naturally has better prospects for progress and development.

The President said that a successful healthcare system should be comprehensive in terms of its quality, availability and affordability. In India, extending Government’s health coverage has always been a priority. The National Rural Health Mission was conceived to take healthcare to the doorstep of the rural population through a network of sub-centres, and primary as well as community health centres. In recent years, improved infrastructure, trained manpower, effective drugs and modern equipment have enhanced delivery of health services and justified extension of the Mission to urban communities as well. He said that India’s triumph in eradicating polio from our population, our success in checking Kala Azar and the fifty percent decline in malaria are results that give us reason to be proud. However, such advanced healthcare is most often at a cost that is beyond the reach of the common people, he said. While the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana has been efficacious to an extent, development of a more comprehensive facility available for primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare would go a long way in providing greater ‘health security’ to our people .

The President said that sound initiatives by our people in recent years have brought about a silent revolution in some areas of healthcare. The telemedicine project - using satellite technology, has linked remote rural health centres with super-specialty hospitals, bringing expert knowledge and assistance to distant communities that could not, earlier, even dream of such a service. To take our health sector further towards self-sufficiency, we must encourage every effort in innovation, development of indigenous technologies and formulations that are better suited to our population and climate. We need to further facilitate local manufacture and abundant availability of sophisticated medicine and equipment; and we need to expand our disease surveillance mechanisms. These pre-requisites must be given due precedence - now and in the coming years. He said that he would very much like to see more super-specialty centres of nuclear medicine, advanced oncology, neurology, cardiology and nephrology in a variety of locations that ensure greater accessibility. We can create facilities that are at par with the best in the world - or better and we can do more to attract the best talent to serve in them. He said that he had no doubt that given adequate infrastructure and opportunities, our medical colleges and research centres will be able to deliver creative and ingenious solutions to current medical challenges that will bring our nation great credit.

The President said that public expenditure on health-care in India (at just 1.2 per cent of our GDP) is much lower than that in many developed countries. Our efforts in expansion of our healthcare and medical education infrastructure must be sustained and intensified. The establishment of six additional institutes on the model of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences is a good step in the right direction. Our medical colleges must continuously up-grade their curriculum and frequently review their research activities. With regard to adequate numbers of competent healthcare professionals, the Twelfth Plan targets a ratio of 354 medical professionals per one lakh people. We must extend ourselves to attain this goal, he stated.

The President emphasized that the medical profession is one of the most noble vocations, associated with piety and compassion. It requires a harmony of knowledge with a humane spirit. Healing the sick and nursing the infirm are posited as God’s own work carried out through human hands. Doctors and nurses receive the sacred trust of patients and their care givers and all those who come to them with hope and faith. Medical colleges, therefore, have the important responsibility of sensitizing and cultivating in their students such values. He said that the G.B. Pant Hospital’s expansion plans anticipate the current and future demands for world class health-care services. Enhanced facilities will contribute to raising academic and service standards and he looked forward to the success and early realization of these initiatives.

Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Shri Najeeb Jung, Lt. Governor of Delhi, Ms. P. Gopinath, Secretary, Department of Post and Shri Sanjay Kumar Srivastava, Chief Secretary of Delhi.

This release issued at 1640 hrs