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The Big Healthcare Festival

To celebrate, recognise, appreciate and applaud the grit of the frontline responders who remain the first line of defence in medical emergencies, the Mahotsav brought government dignitaries, industry leaders, specialist doctors, thought leaders on a platform to share knowledge and pay tribute to the conviction of Padma Doctors

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The Bharat Swasth Mahotsav in its very first edition saw great rigour and passion among the attendees from the healthcare sector subsuming Doctors, CEOs, Founders, Health Experts among others. The programme was organised by BW Healthcare World and Heal Foundation in New Delhi to honour and commemorate the Padma Awardees of the Indian healthcare sector.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mansukh Mandaviya attended the Mahotsav as a Chief Guest, with Minister of State, for Health and Family Welfare, Bharti Panwar attending as a ‘Guest of Honour’. The dignitaries applauded the efforts of Padma Doctors and spoke on the overhaul of the healthcare Industry in recent times.

Mandaviya in his address said that healthcare is not a business but a service. Recalling the Covid-19 pandemic and India’s leadership during the crisis, Mandaviya noted that India’s pharma industry got all support from the government to increase its production and helped as many as 150 countries by sending medical assistance to them. Referring to the vaccine maitri initiative by the Indian government he said the world witnessed India as a leader through the health sector which was based on welfare of the global humanity.

Addressing Padma Awardee doctors’ contribution to society, Mandaviya said, the nation will always be indebted to them for their services to humanity. The Padma Doctors have exhibited immense perseverance, and that has helped them achieve this (Padma Award) respect, he added. He stressed the influence of these doctors in society and said that their knowledge sharing for the betterment of civil society is vital, and the Padma Doctors should now think about getting a Nobel in the healthcare sector for the country.  

The MoS, Bharti Panwar in her address said that in the last seven decades the contribution of Padma Doctors has revolutionised the healthcare services and due to their determination and conviction, our nation is able to stand as a world known healthcare sector.

The Big Health Festival was a day-long affair which hosted over 150-200 ‘Healthcare Impact Leaders’, Specialist Doctors, Padma Awardees and CEOs/CXOs from across the healthcare industry who came together for the knowledge-sharing through five customised niche sessions. 

Healthtech & Innovation

The knowledge flow on healthcare began with a discussion on the role of technology in healthcare and healtech space, which highlighted that technology in healthcare cannot be ignored, as there are three fundamental shifts that have happened in the healthcare space in India. First the technology shift, it was noted that the country has moved from enterprise class structure to SMAACI (Social Media, Mobile, Analytics, AI, Cloud & IoT). Another is the business shift, earlier there was a licensed based model but now India has shifted to a pay-per-use model. And the last one is the policy shift which the Indian Government has made possible by initiating the shift to support every sector in the industry.

The discussion also threw light on the last three decades of diagnostics and how technology has made a huge transformation in lab medicine and pathology as today hundreds and thousands of tests are run automatically on machines. 

Moving from healthtech, the discussions breached the innovation in healthcare where a lot of disruption has taken place in recent times, given the urgent need to bridge the gaps in existing healthcare infrastructure, top healthtech innovations are being encouraged and deployed. The rising attention on accessible and good quality healthcare would demand technology intervention at all levels. However, it was also noted that the country is still in a deplorable state in terms of legal advocacy in the healthcare system. Data security is a serious concern and the biggest collateral damage of poor legal management is data being freely circulated. 

Managing CVDs

Coming to the diaspora of diseases the health experts pondered over the burden of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in India, according to a 2019 estimate, CVDs took 17.9 million lives in the same year, which amounts to 32 per cent of the total global deaths due to CVDs. The doctors explained that as a society we are not taking enough care for our heart health, as we continue to increase the consumption of three whites, sugar, flour, and salt.

The doctors called out that India is heading towards an epidemic of heart diseases and noted that Disability Adjusted Life Years have increased five-fold in the younger population in India, and the major chunk is due to CVDs. Further the lack of love, purpose, gratitude, happiness in relations leads to destruction of an enzyme called Telomerase, which leads to faster penetration of disease in an individual.

The health experts reiterated in unison that the youngsters need to get in touch with their spiritual selves and focus on leading a happy life and also need reduction in alcohol/cigarette/substance abuse, and should promote a regular healthy diet, regular exercise and a distress-free life that will help in bringing down the risk of CVDs.

Eliminating TB

From non-communicable disease such as CVDs the discussion transitioned to tuberculosis (TB) a communicable disease that took half a million lives in the country in 2021, the health specialists debated how far is India from eliminating TB by 2025, as the Modi regime has pledged to eradicate the disease in the country by 2025.

Bringing the practicality of the disease in terms of prevalence and the policies on the table, the experts said whether or not the country will be able to achieve the target is still hard to say, but there are challenges at large, one such challenge is TB has remained under a shadow for long, it has continued to be a neglected disease when it comes to research, funding and awareness.

But the imperatives that can still take us to the target, maybe not by 2025 but a few years after that will be large scale screenings, monitored diagnosis, and vaccination drives, as the trials of a possible vaccine for adults for TB are in the works, and doctors remain hopeful that something positive comes out of these trials.

Equitable Healthcare

On the shores of policy making in healthcare and infrastructure of government healthcare facilities the experts said the condition of government hospitals and the lack of facilities have made the public lose trust in the doctors and the healthcare industry. In these changing times, the healthcare sector is shifting towards privatisation, and 75 per cent of healthcare services are provided by the corporate sector. Going forward, crucial junctures to achieve will be organisation of the healthcare sector, setting up hospitals in tier-2, tier-3 cities, an increase in human resources, including doctors, specialists, and community health workers and lastly reduction of the needless diagnostics and treatments to fuel profits. 

The last dialogue for the day looked at the accessibility and affordability of healthcare in India, the doctors commented that India needs to focus on holistic care as holistic health can be maintained for everyone irrespective of anyone’s socio economic background as it does not require one to spend from one’s pocket but rather it means to be maintaining preventive and curative health that keeps patients out of hospitals altogether. Going forward the country and policymakers will have to prepare a framework for a preventive and promotive healthcare sector.

The flow of knowledge was followed by ‘Padma Doctors Congregation’ in the evening to felicitate the Padma Doctors of India for their exemplary contribution to the healthcare landscape in India since independence. Health Minister felicitated all the Padma Awardees present in the programme while also expressing his sincere gratitude and respect for the Awardees who dedicated their work to the service of the nation.

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Magazine 10 Sep 2022