New Delhi: Mandatory rural posting for new doctors could be a solution for tackling the shortage of medical practitioners in rural areas, said Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday.
“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,” said Naidu inaugurating the 15th World Rural Health Conference here – the first time it is being held in India.
Advocating a collaborative style to meet the shortage of medical personnel and infrastructure in remote areas, he said: “It requires willingness and commitment on the part of doctors and paramedical personnel to serve in rural areas as most prefer to work in urban areas.”
The four-day international conference, with the theme “Healing the Heart of Healthcare – Leaving no one behind”, is being organised by the Academy of Family Physicians of India (AFPI) under the aegis of World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA).
About rural areas lagging behind urban areas in terms of medical services, Naidu said: “I think the time has come for us in India to treat this unhealthy gap in providing preventive and curative medical services in the rural areas on a war footing.”
According to Rural Health Statistics 2016, about 4.6 per cent of functional Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in India are un-electrified. In other words, over 38 million rural households are dependent on health facilities that have no electricity, he said.
“We should also explore how efficiently we can utilize the expertise of AYUSH doctors in strengthening rural health care,” he said and noted that the rural-urban divide in terms of providing effective healthcare services is more pronounced in the low income and developing countries.
On the need for family doctors, he said they provide primary and continuing care to the entire family within the communities addressing physical, psychological and social problems and coordinate full health care services with other specialists.
Rural WONCA chairperson John Wynn said: “Rural health is major concern across the globe and with majority of Indian population being in the rural, their health needs prime focus. The aim of the conference is to aspire for achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”
AFPI Organising Chairman and National President Raman Kumar said: “Government’s involvement in framing researches and methods for amending the primary health structure will help not only improve health but also in overall development of the country.”
The conference is attended by over a thousand foreign delegates and medical practitioners from 40 countries will conduct workshops on strategies and innovations in primary healthcare, visits to remote areas, rural health ideathon, film making and arts festivals on rural health.