Indian President Mrs. Pratibha Patil urged the medical community including medical institutions, doctors and students to spread affordable healthcare in rural areas where medical facilities are limited and not easily accessible.
"I would call on all medical institutions and doctors to see how they can serve rural communities. About 75 per cent of our medical facilities are located in urban centers," said the President at the inauguration of the Fertility Center at the DY Patil University at Nerul in Navi Mumbai.
"The Government of India has schemes like the National Rural Health Mission. Its success depends on the willingness of the health professionals to contribute to this endeavor," she added.
The President also pointed out that despite 31,000 doctors coming out of medical colleges each year, the doctor to patient ratio in India, particularly in rural India, is poor while compared to global standards. "We have half a doctor for 1,000 people as compared to 2.3 per 1,000 in the United States. We, therefore, need many more doctors and many more institutions," she said.
Mrs. Patil urged medical colleges to send medical students to villages during their internship for training so that the students can understand the importance of community health, particularly in rural areas.
"The students can also help to create health workers in the villages by giving villagers training on basic medical skills and first aid treatment," the President said.
Last year, the Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss had announced a plan requiring doctors to practice in villages before graduating out of medical college, but his proposal drew an instant, angry response from medical students who argued that a year of rural service would be an unreasonable addition to their education.