While addressing the inaugural session of 15th World Rural Health Conference with the theme ‘Healing the Heart of Healthcare – Leaving no one behind,’ organised by the Academy of Family Physicians, the vice president said that the rural-urban divide in terms of providing effective healthcare services is more pronounced in the low income countries and developing countries due to shortage of infrastructure and manpower.
He further said that extreme rural-urban inequities exist in Asia and the Pacific regions, while 83 per cent of Africa’s rural people have no entitlements to healthcare. The ILO report also mentioned that there was a shortfall of seven million health workers in rural areas across the globe as compared to three million workers in urban areas, he added.
Naidu said that there has to be concerted efforts from all stakeholders in the health sector to remedy the situation and a comprehensive and systematic approach can address these inequities and ensure access to affordable healthcare services.
He further added that the private sector, NGOs and doctors’ organisations like Academy of Family Physicians of India can play a bigger and more participative role in supplementing the efforts of the governments in ending the urban-rural divide.
He stated that a possible solution to address the shortage of doctors in rural areas could be mandatory posting of fresh MBBS graduates in rural areas before granting them their first promotion.
To overcome major bottlenecks in the delivery of an effective healthcare system like low doctor-patient ratio, lack of skilled paramedics and poor infrastructure, the vice president said that there is a need to have strong political commitment and strong advocacy from relevant national and international organisations with support of nongovernmental organizations.
Highlighting the need to promote the concept of family doctor in a big way, the vice president said that a family doctor provides primary and continuing care to the entire family within the communities; addresses physical, psychological and social problems; and coordinates comprehensive healthcare services with other specialists, as needed. Family physicians deliver a range of acute, chronic and preventive medical care services.