Public healthcare is one of the top priorities of the Narendra Modi government, but lifestyle and non-communicable diseases remain a major concern, said Union Health Minister J P Nadda Thursday.
“Under the leadership of Narendra Modi public health is of utmost priority and it will remain so,” said Nadda while addressing a conference on public heath here. He was replying to a suggestion made by the representative of the World Health Organisation in India, Henk Bekedam, that health should be a priority for the government in its financial allocations.
The theme of the three-day conference was sustainable development in the public health sector. The conference has been organised by Indian Association for Preventive and Social Medicine at Gandhinagar Medical College. State Health Minister Nitin Patel was also present at the event.
Speaking on the occasion, the WHO representative said: “Health should be priority for India… Investing in Health is investing in economy. “ He also cited problem faced by some poor African nation while tackling Ebola virus disease.
On his turn, Nadda said that the NDA government’s priority had always been healthcare, and claimed people compare India’s health initiatives with that of Cuba and France.
“I say, ‘Do you know the population of France and Cuba?’ And when they come to know about India’s population, they get mesmerised and disturbed as to how come we are managing such vast population,” he said.
The Union health minister said despite a number of limitations, India was on the right track. He noted three challenges for his ministry — unfinished task of dealing with communicable diseases; communicable diseases; and the bigger challenge of new lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, respiratory problems.
The minister stressed the positives in the health sector by stating that the Infant Mortality Rate has come down, so as cases of Tuberculosis, HIV and Malaria. He also noted eradication of polio in the country.