Stressing the need to provide affordable health care to the poor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called on start-ups to make medical equipment indigenously to reduce dependence on import.
“More than 10 lakh people get detected with cancer every year and around 6.5 lakh die of the disease annually. International Agency for Research on Cancer has expressed apprehensions that the figures will only double in 30 years,” Modi said after launching a book to mark Tata Memorial Centre’s 75 years of social service. He was addressing the event held in Mumbai through video conferencing from New Delhi.
The prime minister said that 70 per cent of the equipments used to treat patients are imported from foreign countries, which raises the cost of treatment substantially. “This situation has to change because it makes the treatment very costly,” he said.
“I call on the start-up industry to come forward and do research on how can medical devices be manufactured indigenously. We want that devices get manufactured here so that patients can benefit,” he said. The prime minister said the government’s aim is to provide cheapest and best of health facilities to the poor and needy and it has thus, come up with a national health policy using a holistic approach after a span of 15 years.
“We want to take preventive and promotive health care system to the masses. In the coming years, our aim is that 2.5 per cent of the GDP should be spent on health care,” Modi said. He said in order to provide the best facilities to cancer patients, different hospitals working in the field of cancer research and treatment should be brought together on one platform, wherein the treatment provided is cheap and the most modern technology is used.
“When my government came to power in 2014, there were 36 cancer hospitals associated with the cancer grid. In the last three years, the number has gone up to 108,” he said. Modi said with the help and expertise of Tata Memorial Centre, four more cancer research institutes are being developed in Varanasi, Chandigarh, Visakhapatnam and Guwahati.
“These will prove to be immensely beneficial for cancer patients who have to travel far to get treatment. This will also give relief to their families,” he said. Modi said apart from these research institutes, a National Cancer Institute will also come up at Jhajjar in Haryana.
“We are coming up with new AIIMS and medical colleges across the country. We want every citizen to have access to best medical treatment,” Modi said. He lauded the efforts of the Tata Memorial Centre towards curing cancer.
“I congratulate Tata (Memorial) hospital on their platinum jubilee. I am happy to release this book,” Modi said after releasing the book titled ‘Indelible footprints on the sands of time’. The book traces the journey of the hospital, identifying and defining its growth and development.
“After 75 years, this institute is known for education, human resource development and research. Very few hospitals in India have done so much for human ailment,” the prime minister said. Pointing out that cancer was one of the biggest challenges of our times, he said it was vital to create a common platform where patients get affordable treatment. “Cancer is no less than an ‘agni pariksha’ for anyone,” he said.
The contribution of the Tata Memorial Hospital towards its cure is laudable, he said. “I congratulate Ratan Tata and Tata Memorial Hospital for serving the poor,” Modi said.