President Pranab Mukherjee said that India needs to increase its expenditure on healthcare as the country currently spends just 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on public healthcare compared to over four percent in advanced countries
"There is a need to increase our spending in the health sector. Public expenditure on health in India is 1.2 per cent of the GDP, which is lower than four percent in Australia, Britain, Norway and the US," Mukherjee said, inaugurating the new building of the JSS Hospital here, about 150 km from Bangalore.
Noting that health coverage strategy had to look beyond cure and intervention, the president said preventive healthcare had to be given importance due to the increasing trend of lifestyle diseases.
"Our health system has to be geared to treat people and provide guidance about prevention of medical conditions," he said.
Admitting that the public sector health service in the country was still limited by its reach, Mukherjee called for greater intervention to offer a world class healthcare system to the common people.
"Quality of healthcare delivery is also found wanting. Many people depend on the private sector for health services. They often fail to meet expensive medical treatment and suffer. Even common people should have access to specialty treatment, which should not be denied due to high costs," the President asserted.
"The health of a country's population defines the state of development. A healthy population holds greater capacity to access opportunities for education, knowledge and employment," Mukherjee noted.
Stressing on the need to strengthen medical education to have more specialists, the president said research centres had to be encouraged for innovations and manufacturing latest equipment for medical procedures instead of importing them.
Set up by the Veera Simhasana Peetha of Suttur in 1954, the Jagadguru Sri Shivarathreeshwara hospital provides affordable medical services to the people in urban and rural areas in this southern district.