Public-private partnership a must in health sector: Dr John Smoleniec

Dr John Smoleniec, director, Fetomaternal Unit, Liverpool Hospital, Sydney, talks to City Express on high-risk pregnancies, improving public health and why a doctor should be an effective communicator

Published: 11th June 2018 02:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th June 2018 02:40 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As he starts talking, Dr John Smoleniec, a pioneer in the field of perinatology (a subspecialty of obstetrics concerned with the care of the foetus and complicated, high-risk pregnancies) was all candid.

Dr John Smoleniec

According to him, for strengthening the health sector, the government has to think about involving the private sector in the decision-making process. He adds that only if the public and private healthcare systems start working together can remarkable changes be brought in the sector.

“I came to know that the private sector is kept at an arm’s length here. But look at Australia and England. There, the public and private sectors go hand in hand and the results are evident. I think the policymakers should better understand the positives that could be brought in the health sector by promoting public-private partnership,” said Smoleniec.

While acknowledging Kerala’s efforts in bringing down the maternal mortality rate, Smoleniec said that the state has an excellent platform to excel itself in the healthcare sector.
“As far as the state is concerned, though it needs to better its infrastructural facilities, what gives its edge over others is the educated population. The government should use this advantage for imparting the message of embracing a healthy lifestyle so as to prevent complications, including high-risk pregnancies,” adds Smoleniec.

Smoleniec’s counterpart at KIMS Hospital, R Vidyalekshmi, who joined the interactions, said there was a need to train the medical staffs down the order in obstetrics and foetal medicine so that the screening could be done by the health workers during the early stage itself.

She added that as the present generation is obsessed with the internet, they could use the same for their own good as they could gather basic information like intake of folic acid to prevent birth defects and others.

Smoleniec says that if one starts to take care of simple things early in one’s life, then the risk of having high-risk pregnancies could be avoided to a certain extent. And, this includes vaccination against measles and rubella, embracing a healthy lifestyle, taking nutrient-rich food, hygiene and others. The perinatologist also has a piece of advice for the doctors, that is to understand the value of communication and care while attending patients.

“I feel that doctors are the worse communicators. Their priority should not be to bombard medical terms or complicate the situation.  They should instead focus on handling a traumatic patient like who are experiencing high-risk pregnancy with care and compassion. If a patient feels that his or her doctor is caring him, they will feel more relaxed,” said Smoleniec.

According to him,  to make that workable, communication skills should have to be made part of the medical curriculum.

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